How To Move Without Pain

Aging, Posture & 10 Positive Changes We Can Make

by Meghan Griech, PT, DPT, cert MDT, CKTP

This article takes 6 minutes to read

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Our lives are full of negative influences causing us to have a difficult time maintaining good posture. Modern conveniences promote a lot of sitting or distractions causing us to be sedentary and  in prolonged positions for periods of time.

As we age, our prolonged postures play a larger role on our bodies than when we are young.

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As the years go by, our muscle mass changes. Researchers agree that muscle mass peaks by 25 years old.  We can maintain this amount of strength for the next 10 to 15 years of our lives, but we have to work through exercise and resistance training, which  help reduce our loss of muscle mass, known as Sarcopenia.

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Most people will reach their peak bone density between the ages of 25 and 30. By the time we reach age 40, however, we slowly begin to lose bone mass. 

While repetitive activities and being over the age of  50 years-old are common factors for joint pains, prolonged postures and sedentary lifestyles can also affect our pain.  Things  like sitting at a desk, excessive mousing, or prolonged times looking down at our phones can cause joint irritation in wrists, knees, low back, neck and other joints.

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Postural effects often stem from a lack of awareness of how we are holding ourselves in repetitive and prolonged positions from modern-day habits like working in front of a computer, slouching on a couch while watching TV, or the head being pushed forward from the headrest in the car.

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If the lumbar (low back) and abdominal muscles have grown weak from inactivity, that can also cause you to lean forward. 

Forward posture in sitting can stay present in standing, translating to changes in walking, decreased endurance to standing, and negatively impacting walking and balance. These muscles are crucial to lifting your frame and keeping you upright. 

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Here are 10 Ways to improve your posture as you age. 

 – Switch sitting positions often – there isn’t an ideal posture that everyone needs to conform to, it’s more important to change postures.
 – Gently stretch your muscles every so often to help relieve muscle tension
 – Take brief walks around your office or home
 – Sit back in your chair or car seat, making sure you gently rest your shoulder blades against the backrest
 – Keep your head up – when you walk, while you drive, while reading a book
 – Set yourself up for easy postural success – adjust your seat, use a towel roll behind your back, raise your computer monitor, get a headset for prolonged times on the phone
 – Relax your shoulders; they should not be rounded or pulled backwards
 – Use a folded blanket or pillow to take up the hollow space in the couch, helping you to relax but sit tall while you are there
 – Use your speaker phone and walk while on conference calls or chatting with friends.
 – Learn ways to strengthen your lumbar musculature, hips, abdominals, upper back and neck. (Stay tuned for the Posture Guide program, it’s coming soon and will give you answers to the your questions of what to strength, how to stretch and what the keys are to maintaining your postural health)
 – Get outside and get some Vitamin D, it helps your bones and your muscles. (Bonus!)
 – Another way to improve posture is to lose weight, especially around your stomach. More than 2 out of 3 Americans are either overweight or obese. Extra weight weakens your abdominal muscles, causes problems for your pelvis and spine, and contributes to low back pain. (2# Bonus!)

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*Disclaimer: All information in this article is intended for instruction and informational purposes. The author(s) are not responsible for any harm or injury that may result.  This information is used to supplement not replace any advice you were provided from your doctor or another medical health professional.  No guarantees of specific results are expressly made or implied with this article.

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