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The Importance of Posture to the Elderly

The aging body is an amazing thing.  How life can take us from such a small creature to our prime & then through the process of growing old is remarkable indeed.  As we age, however, we discover that there are some things that we were never forced to think about before that have suddenly become important.  Posture is one of those things.  Our bodies are created in a very aligned way.  Life, circumstance and gravity seem to grow heavier over time and pull us further forward & down.  This can wreak havoc, not only on our muscular and skeletal systems, but also on our internal organs.  There is some natural stooping that will occur as we age, but we've all noticed that some people age much more quickly and are drawn downward and forward to a much greater degree than their counterparts of relatively the same age.  But, what is natural and what is not?

Calcium.  It is natural for your body to lose bone density as a person ages due to a lesser production of calcium.  Osteoporosis is common in post menopausal women and in men that are over 65.  This lack results in bones that are less dense & a bit of shrinking in the overall height of a person.  While this is natural, extreme stooping is not & should be addressed sooner, rather than later, by a physician.

Weight.  Aging can often come with an addition of weight which can pull at the skeletal structure bring it downward & forward.  Keeping this in check will have many health benefits, one of them being that your posture will be better.

Muscle.  Muscle strength is naturally lost as we age, but we mustn't give up and give in when it comes to our muscle mass.  Yes, some may be lost naturally, but why lose more by inactivity?

Joints.  Anyone experiencing arthritis knows how rigid and achy joints can cause one to draw inward instead of stretching outward.  Finding relief from this pain can do much to improve the posture.

Keep in mind that posture does not stand alone in your overall health.  If you slump forward, your internal organs are compromised in their functions as well.  It is difficult to draw full, deep breaths into your lungs which will ward off pneumonia.  Other organs, like the bladder, are weakened because of increased weight atop them that was never meant to be there.  It is not necessary that these things become issues, however.  Here are a few brief suggestions for you to improve your posture and attain a healthier life.

  1. It seems simple enough, but practicing being mindful of your posture is truly a difficult undertaking. Being sure to sit erect, stand, & walk without slouching can take a great deal of strength of will AND body!  Keeping your spine straight & your shoulders back and down is an excellent start on the pathway to good posture.
  2. Supplementing your healthy diet with calcium & vitamin D can improve your bone density & affect your posture positively. The vitamin D will also improve your mood!
  3. Building up your muscle mass & strength with do great things for your posture.  It will also give you the needed strength to make progress in your attentiveness to posture.
  4. Pain relief. Be sure to seek help in this area, especially if you have arthritis or another debilitating pain.  Our body draws in to protect itself from pain, & it is nearly impossible to combat this with attentiveness alone, as the drawing in can also be happening during sleep.  You should try to remain as pain free as possible. Do not think that “soldiering on” will make it easier in the long run.

A few such interventions as these listed should bring about great change & health for you as you age!  Enjoy your old age, & your years of wisdom while feeling great!

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