Welcome friend! In this post, you will learn about good posture exercises for seniors and why posture is so important for your well-being.
Posture is critical for the correct functioning of your muscles and joints. Bad posture doesn’t only look bad it can also cause pain and inflammation all over your body.
Aging and genetics inevitably affect your posture but fortunately, there is a lot you can do to prevent bad posture. The most important thing to improve posture being strong and mobile muscles.
That said it’s important to have realistic expectations. Improving your posture doesn’t happen overnight and exercise usually can’t correct postural defects caused by skeletal changes like scoliosis or disc degeneration.
But improving hip mobility and building a strong back and learning better body control through yoga can go a long way in improving a hunched-over posture and help you reduce pain and tension all over your body.
Let’s start by talking a bit about posture before looking at ways to improve it.
What Is Posture
You surely have an idea what posture means but let’s take a bit more detailed look at what posture actually consists of.
By definition posture is the positioning of your body while standing, sitting, or lying down. Often posture is looked at through the curvature of the spine even though typically the positioning of the spine simply shows the problems in posture and is not the actual cause.
In short, posture is how you carry yourself. A good upright posture is a prerequisite for a well-functioning body and it will also affect confidence and how people perceive you. A confident, tall posture is both welcoming and commands respect.
A good posture consists of a neutral spine a neutral head position. The keyword here is neutral, meaning that you can also have a too straight back or stiff neck, causing just as many issues as a slouched posture with forward head. Your hips also play an important role in your posture. Tilted hips due to tight and/or weak muscle groups will inevitably cause issues in your spine and neck positions.
The important thing is to realize that your posture is a system where every component affects the whole system. If you have tight or tilted hips or a forward head tilt, it will affect the curvature of your spine.
That’s why it’s important to treat the posture as a system instead of focusing too much on individual issues since they might not be the root cause.
What Affects Posture As We Age
While you might have had good posture when younger, you might have noticed your posture getting worse as you age. This is very common and inevitable to some extent but you can do a lot to prevent it and to improve your posture.
Physical fitness, especially muscle strength and mass affects posture significantly. You have surely noticed that athletes rarely have bad posture. On the other hand, people who have genetic factors causing bad posture don’t usually end up as athletes.
The reason for this is that for optimal physical performance, your body has to be in alignment. The human skeleton, especially the spine, can handle incredible forces when it’s functioning correctly. But all it takes is a bit of a misalignment and the strong structures become weak and prone to injury.
However, there are medical causes for bad posture as well like skeletal deformities, scoliosis, and spinal disc degeneration. Aging will inevitably lead to compression of the spine, which will affect your posture. Having a good posture will likely reduce the effects.
The things you can affect the most are hip mobility, back strength, and core strength. Tight and weak hamstrings, hip flexors and glutes are often a cause for bad posture and these are something that anyone regardless of age can improve significantly.
Why Good Posture Is Important
The most important health benefit of having a good posture is the prevention of back and neck pain. A bad posture can manifest pain in other places as well like your feet and hips or shoulders.
A good posture will also improve your ability to move and maintain balance. Performing sports or strength training exercises with bad posture can even be dangerous due to the high injury risks.
With good posture, you will feel and look taller. A good posture is actually important for self-esteem because the way you carry yourself reflects in your mood and how other people perceive you. So improving posture can even have social benefits.
A good posture will also help you breathe more easily. A slumped posture with tight muscles will compress your diaphragm, making breathing harder. So improving your posture will make breathing easier.
6 Good Posture Exercises For Seniors
So as we established your posture depends on your skeletal structure and your musculature. Especially the “core muscles“, meaning your abdominals, obliques, and lower back muscles are very important for maintaining a good upright posture.
But maintaining a good posture is truly a full-body exercise. You need to have strong and mobile muscles in your whole body to maintain good posture during activities.
So it’s not important to just strengthen the core muscles but to strengthen the whole body and to stretch and do mobility exercises to open up tight muscle groups.
It’s important to have sufficient strength, especially in your legs, abdominals, and back as they do most of the work of supporting your frame.
A great way to start improving your posture is by doing mobility exercises and performing bodyweight exercises. But just having strength and mobility won’t improve your posture, you need to also improve your proprioception, the sense of the position of your body in space. When you spend more time in a good posture, it will eventually become second nature. Yoga is great for this.
Here are my tips for the best exercises to improve your posture:
Yoga is a great combination of mobility and strength and it’s perfect for improving your posture. Big part of yoga is improving your proprioception through conscious focusing on your body position and breathing and body position in different asanas.
Yoga has a great carry-over to your posture as it will help you open up tight muscles groups and strengthen the weak ones. It will also help you with sensing how you are carrying yourself.
Stretching the hamstrings and hip flexors as well as the adductors of the legs will improve your hip positioning as there are no tight muscle groups pulling your hip forward or backward.
More importantly, hip mobility exercises will allow you to improve leg and back strength so the correct muscles are doing the work during activities. This is especially true for the glutes and hamstrings, that many sedentary people have trouble activating.
Squats and lunges are great for improving leg strength and hip mobility. The only problem is that if you have a bad posture and reduced mobility, you will need to start very light and improve mobility bit by bit until you can achieve a full range of motion. But if you can perform a squat correctly into full depth, your mobility and posture are likely already fairly good.
Planks are a great way to improve core strength and learning the correct positioning for a good posture. You can’t hold a plank efficiently unless it’s in the correct position, so it gives you immediate feedback.
Planks are easy to do at home and they will improve your core strength and stamina very fast. They are a great place to start improving your core strength which will carry over to anything you do, including holding your posture good.
Now, these are a bit more challenging exercises that are also hard to perform effectively at home without equipment. But if you have a kettlebell, some dumbbells, or a barbell you can do these exercises to build a very strong back,
Any kind of row is great for improving the musculature of your upper back, helping you keep your shoulder back at a relaxed position. It’s also wise to stretch and strengthen the pectoral muscles, as these can pull your shoulders forward, resulting in a slouching posture.
Deadlifts are great for improving lower back strength as well as teaching the whole body to move in a good posture. Deadlifts involve your whole body and this makes them great for teaching the correct positioning for a good posture.
The only problem with deadlifts and rows is that you will need someone to teach them to you or at least confirm your lifting form is correct. You should never try any kind of deadlifts unless you are sure your hips and back are moving correctly, otherwise, you risk a back injury. So these are the last of the list since they are something you should practice once you have covered the basics.
I hope you found this article about good posture exercises for seniors useful. If you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you.
As a recap, posture is very important for the correct functioning of your body. A good posture will prevent injuries and fatigue and it can even improve your confidence and breathing.
There are things that affect your posture that you can’t really do anything about, like age and genetics, so you should focus on the things you can improve. These are muscle mobility and strength.
Strength training, mobility exercises, and yoga are great ways to improve your posture as you age. Improving your posture takes time and consistent work, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Just have realistic expectations and be consistent and you will eventually see results.
Thanks for reading and see you next time!