Posture is one of those things that tend to change as people get older. Few of us stand as straight or sit as tall in our seasoned years as we did in our youth. Lots of folks lose a bit of height with the passing of time, too. These changes are usually gradual and the degree of change varies from person to person.
Why does posture alter as we age? There are a few reasons. One is that age can wear down the discs in the spine, which causes them to compress and the back starts to tilt forward. Aging also affects other bones in the body as well as joints and muscles. The different ways people try to adjust to these changes may also affect the alignment of the body and sometimes actually make things worse instead of better. It is very easy to overcompensate for a problem… only to cause another problem.
In addition, all the various injuries, traumas, health problems, and other issues we deal with throughout life can impact our posture later in life. It isn’t really that surprising that a bone fracture or a joint disease like arthritis can affect posture down the line, but so can loss of muscle strength, weight gain, and other body changes that happen as a person transitions through life.
Poor posture isn’t just about slouching or stooping over. Poor posture can stop people from experiencing an active lifestyle in their later years. The good news is that there are things we can do to minimize or even delay posture issues. If you are concerned about your posture, contact your doctor for recommendations. He or she may have suggestions or recommend that you see a physical therapist.
A strong body helps enable good posture and vice versa. The muscles in the abdomen are especially important to keeping the spine strong and supporting body alignment and posture. Your doctor /and or physical therapist will be able to help you identify ways to strengthen your body. They may recommend stretching, weight bearing, and resistance exercises to improve your strength, flexibility, and agility. Walking also is a great way to increase your body’s strength.
Body awareness is also helpful when it comes to improving posture. Slouching instead of sitting up straight can contribute to poor posture. Spending significant amounts of time in a slouched or stooped position can have a negative impact on posture. Actively thinking about sitting up straight while doing common activities – like watching television, reading, writing, etc. – can make a difference in your overall posture.Keep in mind that perfect posture is not necessarily a reasonable goal for every person.
Posture depends upon many factors like weight, height, and body type. A more realistic objective would be to work toward achieving posture that’s best and most appropriate for you and your unique body.