We all want a better posture, even when we don’t realize it. A better posture is a big part of looking younger, of how we move, and how we are perceived.
The biggest fear about getting old is the fear of being disabled.
What causes the loss of function as we get older?
Despite the common belief it is not the age itself. The daily motion routine is what defines the health of our musculoskeletal system.
What causes the eventual and gradual loss of movement is having a limited amount of activities. These activities involve using only a limited three-dimensional space around us.
My mother for example, who used to be a very strong woman, does not like carrying a pitcher of drinking water from the basement to the kitchen. She says she does not want to go up and down. She complains her wrists hurt to carry the pitcher. This is the beginning of the loss of two functions – going up and down the stairs and wrist and arm strength. The immediate reaction would be to tell her to wait for my help or move the water filter upstairs. But knowing she is quite capable of doing it I said: it’s your choice but please realize that this is a downward spiral of function loss. You may look at the going down the basement as an exercise. Fill up only the half of the water pitcher and gradually build up the arm strength.
If you feel that you are losing some function, analyze what is causing it. For example, our modern way of living does not require much of lifting our arms above the heads. Or bending and twisting. If you continue not doing those activities, these functions will be lost. And loss of more functions will follow.
Better Posture Rules
I already talked in many of my previous posts about posture as a form that reflects function (or dysfunction).
To have a better posture means to have a variety movement that involves regular stimulation of the skeletal muscles. It does not mean spending hours in the gym. As a matter of fact, I am dead against of certain type of training: long hours of repetitive motion and bodybuilding.
The better posture rules are:
- All the technology and advances of modern healthcare cannot restore our musculoskeletal health. We have to do it ourselves.
- Start with your own posture evaluation.
- Create a list of things that you used to do and don’t like doing anymore:
- If you cannot play certain sports, maybe it is not the most important loss of function.
- If it is hard to bend, or go down stairs, or lift your arm to reach something from the top shelf, or carry a bag of groceries, or walk for an hour, then you better start paying attention.
It signifies a start of the downward spiral to disability.
- Invest time in better posture education: click here to see the recommended reading material.
- Incorporate a few changes you feel are the easiest and make the most sense to you.
- Remember, you are the ultimate expert – you know your body better than anybody else.
- Avoid long hours of repetitive movement: elliptical and treadmill should be only a small portion of your fitness program.
- Moderate weight training using a good form is beneficial but not enough for posture restoration.
- Start with a short posture improvement routine you learn in the books.
- Or try a few exercises from my blog.
- Don’t fret if you cannot figure out first what exercises to choose. Try a couple first, and then decide what feels the best for you.
- Remember, no matter what any fitness guru or health professional recommends, you can feel what exercises are the best for you. Believe in your inner knowledge and you would realize that you know more than you think.
- Do not procrastinate – start your journey to a better posture today.
Be Upright. Be Happy. Live Pain Free.