Posture breakdown is a risk factor for needing assistance in activities of daily living, according to a recent study in Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. Researchers looked at the posture of 804 independent people over 65 for 4.5 years to study the effect of posture on staying active. After examining a number of indicators, they found a strong correlation between slumping over and needing help.
When people were divided into 4 groups, the group that had the greatest torso-pelvis forward lean had a 3.47 times greater likelihood of becoming dependent on help for activities of daily living. “Spinal posture changes with age, but accumulated evidence shows that good spinal posture is important in allowing the aged to maintain independent lives,” according to the authors.
In other words, even after adjusting for things like age, sex, back pain, and stiffness, people who were leaning forward in their earlier years were nearly 3.5 times more likely to require assistance with routine activities (ADLs) such as bathing, feeding, bathroom, dressing, and transferring to/from a chair.
The study concluded, “Spinal inclination is associated with future dependence in ADL among older adults.”
Torso-Pelvis Lean- The angle from vertical to a line connecting the Vertebral prominent (C7-T1 spinous process) and the S2 sacral tubercle.
PosturePractice suggestion: Benchmark and compare over time with annual posture pictures.
This study adds to the growing body of evidence linking posture and postural habits to health and wellbeing. I am proud of the correlation between this and other work with the PostureZone model and our StrongPosture® exercise protocols described in my book, Stand Taller~Live Longer: An Anti-Aging Strategy. Before this study began, the Torso-Pelvis alignment angle measured in this study is one of the clinical observations CPEPs and other posture professionals have been making with the PostureZone Assessment software.
In the next few years I anticipate studies looking at the effect of focused controlled motion between adjacent PostureZones. If you are a researcher interested in collaborating using a defined, progressive set of focused motion exercises that’s been used and refined clinically for over 10 years, please contact DrWeiniger at BodyZone.com.
Kamitani, Michikawa, Iwasawa, Eto, Tanaka, Takebayashi, Yuji Nishiwaki, “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 first published online January 28, 2013 doi:10.1093/gerona/gls25