top of page
Search

How do I improve my posture as I age?


As we age, our posture starts to change. Our height and gait can change as the years go on, starting around thirty years old. Decreased height starts to be more noticeable after the age of seventy. Even though our posture changes, there are ways we can help improve it as we age. Let's explore the latest information on why posture changes and how to improve it.


Bones, muscles, and joints are all part of the musculoskeletal system that makes up our posture. These three parts of the musculoskeletal system are affected by age, which can add to a stooped appearance. As we age, we lose bone density, which is caused by the loss of calcium. We also lose the gelatin-like cartilage that is between each vertebra of the spine, as we age. The loss of this cartilage causes decreased flexibility in the spine and decreased length of the spine. Also, as we age, muscle mass decreases. When muscle mass decreases, it may be replaced with fibrous tissue or fat. The replacement of muscle mass weakens the muscle, which contributes to the curve formation of the spine.


However, research has shown that working on improving your posture as you age can help you stand up straighter, increase strength, and decrease falls. Here are some tips to help improve your posture as you age:

  1. Exercise: Incorporate exercises that strengthen your spine and core. Exercises that target neck flexors, back extensors, and pelvic muscles will improve your ability to keep a good posture. Pilates and yoga are examples of good exercises to try to improve your core strength.

  2. Go Barefoot: Letting your feet be free and wiggling them around, will help increase blood flow, which in turn will increase blood flow and decrease swelling in the joints. Your feet are the foundation of your body.

  3. Sit Differently: Try to sit in a firm chair, with your feet flat on the floor directly below your knees. Push your heels into the floor and lift and lower your toes. Also, digestion, breathing, and circulation depend on small body movements during the day. Sitting for extended periods of time, decreases your body's ability to perform those functions at it’s best ability. Get up and move around if you are sitting for long periods of time.

  4. Decrease Screen Time: When you are using any item with a screen, it is natural to lean forward towards the screen. When your head is pushed forward to look at a screen, it causes strain to the spine. One tip to try is to move your chin back towards your throat, and at the same time lengthen and lift through the back of the neck.

  5. Stretching: Place items that you use every day above shoulder height or below your waist. When you reach high or low, you are bringing movement to your shoulders, completing a squat movement, or a stretch up in the air. These movements incorporated into your routine every day, will help with improving posture. If you're placing items slightly out of reach, make sure it is still within a safe distance, to not increase your fall risk.

  6. Snow Angels: Lay on the floor and make snow angels, slowly, for two to three minutes. This exercise will help with flexibility and range of motion.

  7. Sit Straight: When you are sitting, be conscious of sitting tall, with your shoulders dropped.

  8. Increase your Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for bone health. Increasing your exposure to sunlight and increasing your intake of foods rich in vitamin C, are simple ways to improve your vitamin D intake. Some examples of vitamin D rich foods include, tuna, salmon, orange juice, and sardines Just because we lose some muscle and bone mass as we age, doesn’t mean there isn’t anything we can do to help prevent it! Not only will working on improving your posture as you age help you stand up straighter, it also will help you increase strength and decrease falls! Now that we’ve looked at why posture changes as you age, let’s look at what you can do to help improve your posture as you age! Reaching: Place items that you use every day above shoulder height or below your waist. When you reach high or low, you are bringing movement to your shoulders, completing a squat movement, or a stretch up in the air. These movements incorporated into your routine every day, will help with improving posture. (Sixty and Me, 2022) If you’re placing items slightly out of reach, make sure it still is within a safe distance, to not increase your fall risk. Go Barefoot: Letting your feet be free and wiggling them around, will help increase blood flow, which in turn will increase blood flow and decrease swelling in the joints. Your feet are the foundation of your body. (Sixty and Me, 2022) Sit Differently: Try to sit in a firm chair, with your feet flat on the floor directly below your knees. Push your heels into the floor and lift and lower your toes. Also, digestion, breathing, and circulation depend on small body movements during the day. Sitting for extended periods of time, decreases your body's ability to perform those functions at it’s best ability. Get up and move around if you are sitting for long periods of time. (Sixty and Me, 2022) Decrease Screen Time: When you are using any item with a screen, it is natural to lean forward towards the screen. When your head is pushed forward to look at a screen, it causes strain to the spine. One tip to try is to move your chin back towards your throat, and at the same time lengthen and lift through the back of the neck. (Sixty and Me, 2022) Snow Angels: Lay on the floor and make snow angels, slowly, for two to three minutes. This exercise will help with flexibility and range of motion. (Harding, 2013) Sit Straight: When you are sitting, be conscious of sitting tall, with your shoulders dropped. (Harding, 2013) Core Strengthening: Exercises that strengthen your core, will help you improve your posture and decrease strain on your back. Pilates and yoga are examples of good exercises to try to improve your core strength. (Harding, 2013) Strengthening Exercises: Incorporate exercises that strengthen your spine. Exercises that target neck flexors, back extensors, and pelvic muscles will improve your ability to keep a good posture. (Harding, 2013) Increase your Vitamin D: Vitamin D is important for bone health. Increasing your exposure to sunlight and increasing your intake of foods rich in vitamin C, are simple ways to improve your vitamin D intake. Some examples of vitamin D rich foods include, tuna, salmon, orange juice, and sardines. (Harding, 2013) For additional exercises to help with posture, visit: https://aspenseniorcenter.org/five-easy-exercises-to-help-seniors-improve-their-posture/ In 2013, a study was conducted to identify the dynamic changes of posture as women age. The study consisted of the control group, which was women ages 20 - 25 and the study group, which was women ages 60 - 90. The study found that a women’s posture does change as they age, but, women over the age of 60, who participated in therapy to strengthen their muscles, demonstrated improvements in posture. (Drzał-Grabiec et al., 2013) As we age, it’s important to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices into our daily routine, to improve and maintain the strength and health of your body! Talk to your local therapy company, like Your Aging Therapist to find out how an occupational and physical therapist can help with improving you, or your loved ones, strength and posture! Resources Utilized: MUSC Health Medical University of South Carolina. (n.d.). Posture change with age. Healthy Aging Newsletter. Retrieved May 15, 2022, from https://muschealth.org/medical-services/geriatrics-and-aging/healthy-aging/posture 4 natural movements to improve posture and feel stronger. Sixty and Me. (2022, April 14). Retrieved May 15, 2022, from https://sixtyandme.com/natural-movements-improve-posture/ Harding, A. (2013, May 8). 10 ways to have great posture as you age. Health. Retrieved May 15, 2022, from https://www.health.com/condition/osteoporosis/10-ways-to-have-great-posture-as-you-age Drzał-Grabiec, J., Snela, S., Rykała, J., Podgórska, J., & Banaś, A. (2013). Changes in the body posture of women occurring with age. BMC Geriatrics, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2318-13-108

Resources

  1. https://muschealth.org/medical-services/geriatrics-and-aging/healthy-aging/posture

  2. https://sixtyandme.com/natural-movements-improve-posture/

  3. https://aspenseniorcenter.org/five-easy-exercises-to-help-seniors-improve-their-posture/

  4. https://www.health.com/condition/osteoporosis/10-ways-to-have-great-posture-as-you-age




8 views0 comments
bottom of page