Is poor posture making you look and feel older than you are? A hunching habit not only shaves inches from your height, it's also a hazard to your health.
Proper posture is the backbone of a balanced, strong and stable body. Throughout your lifetime, the alignment and shape of your spine will shift due to repetitive daily behaviors such as staring at your cell phone screen, stooping over a desk, or hauling a heavy purse.
As the skeletal system matures, years of poor posture and wear and tear can cause slouch-related symptoms such as a hyperextended neck, arthritis, back pain, a slower gait, balance problems, and even difficulty breathing. Another common condition older adults may experience is hyperkyphosis, which causes a curvature in the thoracic spine, in your upper back.
The good news is, it's not too late to reverse some of the signs and symptoms of poor posture. Practice these spine-strengthening exercises at least three times a week.
Proper posture is the key to bringing your body back to life.
Labor of limbs
- Begin in a prone position with your arms and legs extended.
- Using your core, simultaneously raise your head, chest, right arm and left leg off the ground. Hold this position for two counts then lower your body back to the starting stance.
- Repeat the same movement but raising your head, chest, left arm and right leg this time. That's one rep. Complete 10 total repetitions.
- Stand in an upright position with your head, back and shoulders against a wall, gazing forward.
- Keep your head against the wall as you gently pull your chin in toward your neck. You should feel a slight stretch in the muscles lining the back of your neck.
- Hold this position for five seconds, taking note of your posture. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
- Start on your hands and knees, keeping your back flat and neck in line with your spine.
- Try to keep your hips square with the floor as you elevate your right arm and rotate it up toward the sky. Allow your gaze to follow your arm as it moves.
- Hold for two counts then return your arm to the starting position. Repeat 10 times then switch sides.
- Begin in a supine position with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Press your palms and heels into the floor as you lift your hips off the floor and squeeze your glutes. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to knees.
- Contract your shoulder muscles by bringing your arms behind your back and holding your hands together. Remain in this position for 30 seconds then release.