It is common for seniors to develop a hunched or stooped posture as they age. This happens due to several possible reasons that can include loss of muscle strength, bone loss, and poor posture habits. Hunching could also be the result of factors such as the development of a Dowager’s hump, Osteoporosis, and other spinal conditions.
There are many ways seniors can improve their posture and prevent hunching which can in turn lead to several health benefits. Things, like eating healthy, doing yoga, standing/sitting in a correct posture, and staying active, can all help improve and even correct bad posture while also minimizing the risk of falls.
Maintaining proper posture isn’t just important for seniors, but for all adults over the age of 30. By adopting and adhering to best practices for better posture early, one can develop and strengthen back, shoulder, and core muscles that are essential in maintaining upright posture as one gets older.
In this article, we will take a look at the 5 best ways for posture improvement that can help prevent hunching and stooping for seniors.
5 Ways To Help Improve Posture & Prevent Hunching
The most common reason for poor posture in seniors is due to a loss of muscle mass in areas around the chest, back, and shoulders. How can a senior prevent this from happening? Here are five easy ways to do just that!
Maintain A Healthy Diet
Eating healthy is essential to developing strong bones and preserving muscle mass. Diets that are rich in calcium, protein, vitamins, and other essential nutrients can help keep your upper body strong and encourage maintaining correct posture when sitting and standing.
For seniors, it is essential to maintain a diet that is composed heavily of calcium, vitamin D, and protein.
Calcium and vitamin D helps with bone growth and bone strength while protein is essential for building muscle.
Do Yoga & Other Posture Improving Exercises
The best way to develop and maintain muscle strength is by exercise. Posture-improving exercises are basic and can be done by individuals of all ages. These include exercises such as chin tucks and juts, wall tilts, and bird dogs to name a few.
These exercises are safe and easy to do and only take only a few minutes. They also don't require the use of any equipment or assistance.
Each exercise also offers its own set of benefits. Bird dogs, for example, help improve balance and strengthen core muscles.
Chin tucks and juts are perfect for seniors who experience neck pain and headaches. This exercise allows the cervical vertebrae (your neck bones) to align in a neutral position which helps build neck muscle strength and offers neck pain relief.
Wall tilts are another easy exercise that is great for strengthening the pelvis and lower back muscles while also alleviating back pain.
Finally, we all know yoga is a great exercise for people of all ages, especially seniors. As yoga is a gentle exercise that doesn’t place too much stress on joints, it is safe for people of all fitness levels and can be extremely beneficial for both the body and the mind.
The benefits of yoga are many. As such, it is an exercise routine that all seniors should look to incorporate into their daily routines.
Sit On A Ergonomic Chair
The upper back muscles are responsible for pulling back our shoulder blades allowing us to have an upright posture with an open chest. However, when sitting for long periods of time it is natural for the shoulders and the back to slump resulting in what is called a rounded shoulder posture.
If left unchecked this bad posture can cause one to permanently look stooped, hunched, or bent. This is why it is essential to always sit on an ergonomic chair and use ergonomic furniture when sitting down for extended periods of time.
Ergonomic chair designs allow you to naturally maintain the correct posture with minimal effort resulting in low stress on your back, neck, and shoulder muscles.
Sleep On Your Side On A Stiff Mattress
It is essential for seniors to make sure that even when they sleep their back isn’t arched or bent. The best way to avoid this is to sleep on one’s side and ensure that the head is perfectly level with the neck.
Also, avoid using soft mattresses and pillows, instead, use memory foam mattresses and firm support pillows as they can help reduce body strain and maintain proper spinal alignment even as you sleep.
Keep Your Back Straight, Shoulders Back, & Chin Up!
We have all heard our parents and elders tell us to always stand up straight with our shoulders back and our chin up! It is only until we get older that we realize how important these words were. By simply following these simple instructions one can get in the habit of having correct posture which can in turn prevent hunching or stooping as one gets older.
Risks Associated With Bad Posture & Hunching
There are several risks associated with poor posture and hunching for seniors including chronic back pain, joint degeneration, and spinal dysfunction.
Poor posture can also result in the development of rounded shoulders and a potbelly which puts further stress on your back and pelvis muscles. But perhaps the biggest risk of all for poor posture is the risk of falls.
Falls are the leading cause of injuries and hospitalization in seniors, in Canada. It is estimated that one in three seniors experience a fall every year! This risk of falling inherently increases for seniors that have poor posture or are hunched, as their muscles aren’t as strong as they should be, making it harder for them to carry their weight and maintain balance.
This is why it is highly recommended that seniors wear a fall alert necklace, such as the ones offered by Northwood Intouch, that can automatically detect a fall and alert medical authorities and loved ones. Such devices can be lifesavers and can help empower seniors and caregivers alike.
For more information on senior care give us a call at +1 (902) 492-3346 or 1-800-461-3346.