Question: My mother always told me not to slouch as a kid, and I can’t help but notice that her posture weakens as she gets older and spends more time at home. What are some easy ways to help keep her spine in better shape that don’t require an office visit?
Answer: Physical changes as we age are common. These physical changes can include a decrease in strength and range of motion as well as postural changes. It’s not to say these things are necessarily bad or inevitable; however, it’s important to be aware of these changes so individuals can take steps to minimize their effect on normal daily activities.
Participating in a regular fitness routine that includes both strength training and flexibility exercises is an effective way to stave off the potential decrease in physical functioning. This can be a bit intimidating for some; however, many wellness centers offer one-on-one coaching to get individuals started. Another idea is to start a fitness program with a friend. This will make the process less intimidating and allow participants to hold each other accountable.
Also, one may consider how they spend much of their time. For example, those who spend a lot of time in front of a computer may consider an ergonomic chair to help promote upright posture. Additionally, proper eye wear while sitting in front of a computer is essential. Those with progressive glasses may find themselves sitting at a computer with their head tilted back to look through the bottom portion of the lens, which may promote forward head posture.
Ultimately, the take-home message should be more about living a healthy lifestyle rather than focusing too much on posture alone. Posture is influenced by a multitude of factors, and living a healthy lifestyle should be paramount.