October is Healthy Aging Month
Are you paying attention to what’s happening with your posture? It’s one way others judge your age…and how you’re aging. Especially after age 55, the body language of standing straight says confidence and vitality, while hunching over says old and anticipating a cane (or walker).
One recent study showed people over 65 who begin folding into a forward leaning posture are nearly 3.5 times more likely to require assistance with routine daily activities such as bathing, feeding, bathroom, dressing, and getting in and and out of a chair. And that’s after researchers adjusted for things like age, sex, back pain, and stiffness!1
Keeping posture tall and strong helps back and neck pain, and is required to get the best benefit from all exercise. But it’s not just about being active – it’s literally about how keeping your body structure folded has a dramatic effect on health, especially as we grow older. Living with your body folded can compress the lungs and even the digestive system (food doesn’t move as well and literally backs up).
Maintaining your postural health is increasingly important for successful aging, especially as we see how yesterday’s remedies can cost more in health then they give in relief. Recent studies have proven that over-the-counter pain relievers can reduce happiness as well as pain, along with dramatically increasing the likelihood of liver and kidney damage. Taking medication for constipation can reduce your bodies own urge, so you take more medication.
The best strategy for successfully aging well is what your mother told you: Stand tall with a good attitude, keep moving with good posture, care for loved ones and friends, and have a health provider you trust to care for you.
Plus one more thing: Check your posture picture – it’s what others see looking at you, and will help you stay healthy and active.
1 – Kamitani, K., Michikawa, T., Iwasawa, S., Eto, N., Tanaka, T., Takebayashi, T., & Nishiwaki, Y. (2013). Spinal posture in the sagittal plane is associated with future dependence in activities of daily living: A community-based cohort study of older adults in Japan. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 68(7), 869-75. doi:10.1093/gerona/gls253. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23359541