Posture Advice for Every Stage in Life

Posture is thought to affect your mood, health, confidence, and even memory!

Celebrate this month by improving your posture and overall health! Here are some tips on how you and your loved ones of all ages can do this-

Children and teens

The sooner in life good posture is practiced, the sooner it becomes habit. This turns it into an action that is automatically taken, not something that requires a lot of conscious effort in order to achieve, protecting your physical and mental health for decades to come.

According to the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, you can help the young people in your life improve their posture by offering these basic tips:

  • When walking, have them imagine that they have a pile of books on their head to help them keep their head facing forward, shoulders back, and stomach tucked in.
  • When sitting at the computer to do homework or chat on social media, stop them from leaning forward by having them press their back against the chair. Also, remind them to pay attention to their shoulders, keeping them relaxed so they’re not hunched up by their ears.
  • When lying down or sleeping, ask them to use a pillow to better support their head and neck and instead of lying on their stomach or back, they should opt for lying on their side (with their knees bent)

The key to getting kids to engage in proper spinal structure is to “make it fun” says Washington Post fitness columnists Vicky Hallett and Lenny Bernstein. This means encouraging them to exercise, even if it’s by getting them involved in video games that require physical activity.

Another option is to teach them to take regular stretch breaks to elongate their spine or to purchase them a stability ball to use as a chair when engaged in sit-down activities.

 

Young to middle-aged adults

Although the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) warns that “long-standing postural problems will typically take longer to address than short-lived ones, as often the joints have adapted to your long-standing poor posture,” correcting postural habits as a young to middle-aged adult is still possible. It just takes a little more effort, but the positive effects are more than worth the payoff.

The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this age group (which can be best defined as those 25 to 54 years of age) represents the highest number of those currently employed (83 percent, which compares to just over 66 percent of those aged 16 to 24 and 30.1 percent of those 55 and older). That makes practicing proper posture at work especially important for individuals in this particular range.

Therefore, if you’re between 25 and 54 and have a desk job that requires you to sit for long periods of time, it helps to take frequent breaks. Get up and walk around, relieving the stress on your spine. If you can’t leave your work area, at least get up and do some stretches such as the Brugger band exercise, an overhead shoulder stretch or shoulder shrug.

And if your job is more physical in nature, requiring you to lift a lot, use your legs versus your back by squatting down to pick the items up. Additionally, ask for help with heavier items and, if possible, keep from lifting them above shoulder level.

Older adults and seniors

Part of obtaining and maintaining good posture in life’s later years involves actively engaging in exercises meant to promote proper stance. This can help improve balance, one of the top concerns among individuals in this age range.

It doesn’t take long to see benefits either. One study published in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology found that three months of training just three times a week was enough to provide participants with “a significant improvement in balance.”

The good news (if you’re not big on starting a new exercise program in your later years) is that the exercises don’t have to be high impact. Some of the suggestions offered by Elder Gym include arm ups, spine extensions, shoulder circles, and a “chin tuck and jut” movement, all of which are fairly easy on the body. Plus, while these movements can help improve posture, they are also beneficial when it comes to increasing flexibility and strengthening muscle tone.

***This blog is an excerpt from an article originally written by Christina DeBusk at Chiropractic Economics. You can find the original article here:

 

How to have, celebrate (and practice) good posture at any age

 

 

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