As we age, it becomes more important every year to take care of our physical health. By staying on top of your physical health and maintaining your posture, you can reduce the frustrations of back and neck pain and avoid any unnecessary wear and tear on your body.
Posture exercises focus on applying small adjustments when you’re standing, sitting, or lying down to remove as much pressure and tension as possible from your spine, neck, and surrounding areas. Doing some of these exercises or even just making small adjustments while sitting can help reduce or prevent the long-term effects of poor posture on your body.
By reducing the tension and strain you subconsciously put on yourself, you can loosen up your muscles, tendons, and ligaments and can even reduce the risk and effects of arthritis.
Many of these exercises can be performed by yourself, whether you live alone or in an assisted living community. If you live in a senior living community, are worried about your physical health, and want to join a fitness program for seniors, ask around to see what options are available.
At Parson House La Porte, we offer different programs and options to support the physical health of our residents, along with all sorts of other services and amenities. If you or a loved one are searching for an assisted living facility with a team that focuses on taking care of their residents, schedule a tour today with Parson House La Porte and see for yourself!
What Are the Benefits of Good Posture?
Having good posture is important for your overall physical health.
By sitting or standing with proper posture, you can help your joints and muscles avoid unnecessary wear and tear. Sitting and standing with good posture can remove avoidable tension from your spine as well.
Utilizing different techniques, habits, and stretches for better posture helps ensure your muscles operate as they’re intended to. This can actually lead to less fatigue overall in your muscles since they aren’t being used in unorthodox or unusual ways.
Good posture can also lead to stronger spines and muscles. By making sure your muscles and spine are flexible and strong, you can keep a full range of motion and avoid unnecessary pain or problems.
Sitting Exercises to Improve Posture
When we’re sitting, it’s easy to slouch forward, but this can directly lead to back and neck pain. Making simple adjustments to your posture when you’re sitting or taking time in your day to do simple exercises can help correct any posture issues you may have.
Some simple adjustments and exercises you can make include:
- Keep your shoulders back and your chin high
- Make sure your weight is evenly distributed across both hips
- Avoid twisting at the waist
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
If you’re working or looking at a screen, make sure the screen is around your eye level—if you have to crane your neck, you’ll cause unnecessary back and neck pain. Keep your hands level with your keyboard and your back against the back of your chair.
While all these adjustments are small, they can help reduce back and neck strain, leading to less pain and better posture.
Stand up every 30 minutes or so and stretch your legs, shoulders, and back. You don’t have to do a complicated combination of different stretches! As long as you’re stretching your body and avoiding getting too stagnant or stiff, you may feel improvements.
Standing Exercises to Improve Posture
There are many different exercises you can do to help your standing posture. All of them focus on stretching your back, shoulders, and legs to make sure you can keep as little strain and stress on your muscles as possible. As we get older and our backs and shoulders tend to get worse, these exercises become more and more important.
Fortunately, they all are very low-stress and easy to do. It’s important to note, however, that if you feel any pain during any of these exercises, you should stop immediately to avoid hurting yourself. Some of these exercises include:
Stretching at a Doorframe
If you place your arms and forearms in line on opposite sides of a doorframe, then step through slowly, you’ll stretch your shoulders, back, and arms. Do this exercise slowly a few times and you may feel your shoulders and back releasing tension and relaxing!
Stretch Your Hands Backwards
Keep your arms at your side and reverse your hands so your palms face the walls behind you. Then raise your hands slowly behind and out behind you, keeping them straight. Repeat a few times. This can help with tension in your shoulders and upper back.
These are simple and can be done anywhere. Begin with your shoulders back and your chin up. Lift your shoulders slowly without rotating them forwards, then begin pulling them back and down in a small semicircle motion. You may feel a little tightness in your shoulders or lower neck. Take it slow and repeat a few times to loosen the muscles.
Keep one arm down at your side and raise the other. Bend it at the elbow over your head and slowly stretch the raised arm in that direction, then try to hold it for a few seconds. This exercise can help with stress in the shoulders and can be done sitting or standing.
Decompression Stretch in Bed
This stretch is a little more complicated but still very beneficial. It focuses on stretching the lower back and relieving tension in the back and shoulders. By reducing weight and pressure on your spine, you may notice a positive change in your posture.
This stretch involves using a pillow or padded blanket on a bed, couch, or table to help decompress your lower back.
- Pad up a pillow or blanket and lay it on a table, couch, or bed.
- Lay face-down over the pillow so that some of your upper body hangs off the edge of the furniture, with the pillow situated under your hips or pelvic region.
- Breathe deeply and begin to stretch your arms overhead. If you feel comfortable, try to consciously stretch your neck slowly as well.
- Try and hold this position for a few seconds—or as long as you’re comfortable. Continue to breathe deeply. You should feel small stretching sensations in the lower back!
This stretch, while more complicated, can help with lower back pain and keep your muscles loose. You can repeat it as needed throughout the day.
How Important is Good Posture?
Good posture becomes important as we get older. Seniors can benefit from these exercises and help keep their backs in good shape. By taking care of your posture, you can reduce and even prevent back pain in the long term, and all it takes is a few minutes each day to consciously do what you can to make a change.
Whether you live on your own, with family, or in a senior living community, doing these exercises can help improve your posture and make a difference for your body.
If you’re in an assisted living community and worried about doing these exercises alone, speak with one of the team members around you and ask for their help. At Parsons House La Porte, we take the time to engage with each and every resident to make sure that they have whatever they need. With our programs and amenities, our residents can rest easy knowing they’re surrounded by a team of caring professionals.