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How To Promote Good Posture For Seniors

Joel Vento - November 30, 2016 09:51 AM

Posture is the position of your body when you sit or stand. It sounds like a simple thing, but it affects your health and well-being. Learn more about the causes of poor posture and the benefits of good posture as you prevent falls and enjoy good health.

Importance of Good Posture

When your body is aligned, it works properly. You experience less back, neck and shoulder pain, and your range of motion improves. Also, your vital organs remain in the correct position, and your nervous and digestive systems function the right way. You'll look younger, too.

The right posture can also help prevent falls. More than one in four seniors over age 65 suffer a serious fall every year, and those falls can cause serious injuries, keep you from participating in activities, and affect your ability to live independently. With good posture, your risk of falling decreases, since proper posture keeps your muscles strong, reduces strains and helps you remain steady on your feet.

Causes of Poor Posture

As you age, several factors can affect your posture. Understand these factors as you identify the reasons why your posture is poor:

•    Poor mobility can decrease your muscle strength and prevent you from maintaining the proper posture as you sit, stand and walk.
•    Injuries may prevent you from standing or sitting properly. They may also affect the muscles that support your spine and keep your body aligned.
•    A sedentary lifestyle weakens muscles that support your spine and back.
•    Health conditions such as obesity or osteoporosis affect your ability to sit and stand properly.
•    An unsupportive mattress or the wrong footwear may affect your spine and posture.
•    Poorly designed workspaces can affect your posture as you sit or stand.

How to Improve Posture
It's never too late to improve posture! Take these steps to better protect yourself:

1. Stay active. Regular movement reduces stiffness, strengthens muscles and helps you improve your posture; so walk, swim or do other physician-approved exercises to increase activity.

2. Improve your balance. Several core and balance exercises improve your steadiness and posture. These exercises include yoga, balance ball workouts and squats.

3. Keep your weight under control. Obesity strains your back and causes spinal changes that hinder good posture. Maintain the proper weight and a good posture with an exercise and dietary regimen approved by your doctor.

4. Use ergonomic seating. The right chair supports your spine and lower back. It's also adjustable so that you can ensure your feet remain firmly planted on the ground with your knees slightly higher than your hips, and your wrists stay straight.

5. Maintain the right posture at all times:

•    Stand with your head held high, your shoulders back and your chest out.
•    Stretch every 20 minutes if you sit for the majority of the day.
•    Set up an ergonomic workstation at your desk. Support your feet with a stool so that your knees are even with your hips, place the computer monitor 15 degrees below your eye level and use an ergonomic chair.
•    Lift with your legs. Always stand close to the object, squat, lift straight up and carry the object close to your body.
•    Avoid twisting or bending when you reach for something.
•    Support your back when you ride in a car. The seat should be adjusted so your knees are higher than your hips.
•    Sleep on your side. Keep your knees bent, and support your head so that it's level with your neck.

6. Be consistent. It will take time, but keep working on posture improvements until you see results.

Posture is important at any age, especially in your senior years. Follow these tips as you correct poor posture, prevent falls and improve your health.
Joel Vento is President of Sales and Marketing at Concept Seating. Vento brings over 20 years of experience to Concept Seating, leading to the creation of several products — including the 3150 Operator Chair. Concept Seating produces 24-hour dispatch chairs and office task chairs for a variety of industries.

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