The Importance of Good Posture by Robin Trimingham
Ever wonder how the hunch-back little old ladies got that way? Ever tell yourself, “that will never be me”? Ever wonder why you are not as tall as you were in your twenties? Ever wonder how you woke up one morning with a double chin?
Your poor posture may be to blame, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Poor posture in older people is being linked to a myriad of health problems including how well your heart can pump blood and how efficiently you breathe. It is even a primary cause of balance issues and falls in older people.
To put this in perspective, the US National Safety Council reports that nearly 1.5 million people over 65 are seriously injured in falls each year, resulting in approximately 14,000 deaths, and many more debilitating injuries.
I confess that good posture is something that has alluded me for most of my life. It’s not that no one tried to get me to sit up straight when I was young - it is just that I didn’t listen.
I remember being forced to walk about the living room with a hard cover book on the top of my head when I was in the first grade. My grandmother (an actual Victorian born in 1895) was trying to impress the importance of good posture on me but I just wasn’t having it. Growing into a “cool” teen who slouched to and froe and then proceeded to become a competitive swimmer did little to improve the state of my large round shoulders.
Waking up one morning last year to realize that I had the beginnings of a double chin – that was a wake up call I could not ignore.
Not being interested in plastic surgery or Botox, I scowered the internet for an alternate solution, convinced that there must be a cream or gadget or trick for ridding myself of this affliction. Imagine my surprise then when I discovered that the state of my chin was entirely due to my forward head posture.
And … my forward head posture … due entirely to my own refusal to stand up straight!
What was I thinking all those years ago? I am officially an idiot.
The good news however, is that my posture and therefore my chin can be improved with the adjustments and guidance of a chiropractor and a whole lot of exercises that I do at home.
I am not a doctor and so I am not going to list any recommended exercises because you really do need to seek professional advice if you want to embark on this sort of self-improvement. I will say that after just a few weeks I have made a noticeable improvement – my shoulders are more square; my neck is supporting my chin better, and my balance has improved dramatically.
I don’t expect to be able to make a “complete recovery” but I will be able to stand better, look better, and hopefully avoid becoming one of those “slip and fall” statistics.
Confessing this also will keep me doing those exercises when I am not in the mood!
By Robin Trimingham