Stooped Posture: Causes & Treatment
Surrounded by slouchers? Don’t stoop to their level!
You probably don’t remember the exact moment you took your first step. Why would you? You’ve taken countless steps since, each more assured than the one before. You have, after all, mastered that all-important life skill: standing upright. What you may not realize, however, is that posture is not something you can simply set and forget. As we age, our bodies can easily slip out of alignment, causing an undesirable stooped posture. Luckily, this is totally reversible if we adopt a few postural best practices.
Posture changes as you age
The human body goes through many changes as a normal part of the aging process. Hair gets a little thinner on top, skin wrinkles, and bones shrink. Even our posture changes. Shoulders become stooped or rounded, our lower back loses some of its curvature, and our head cranes forward involuntarily. The good news is that, unlike a receding hairline, postural changes are entirely preventable with the right lifestyle choices. But more on that later.
The pains of stooped posture
Stooped posture doesn’t just look unsightly, it can be detrimental to your health. For instance, if your spine’s natural curvature is out of whack, you might experience back or neck pain – something most smartphone users can relate to. You also run the risk of losing the flexibility that’s needed to carry out everyday tasks such as getting dressed or getting up out of a chair. Worse yet, poor posture can affect your balance and make you more prone to falls.
If all this talk of posture-related health issues has got you feeling nervous, stop and take a breath. Oh, that’s right; stooped posture reduces your intake of oxygen, making it difficult to breathe deeply. Gasp!
How to treat stooped posture
Knowing the pitfalls of bad posture is half the battle. To break this unhealthy habit, or prevent it from forming in the first place, greater mindfulness is needed. These are a few necessary precautions worth taking to maintain a more youthful posture:
- Exercise regularly. This improves bone and muscle function, which is key to maintaining musculoskeletal health. Mind-body exercises such as yoga and tai chi are great for improving balance and stability.
- Eat a balanced diet that consists mainly of fruits and vegetables, with little to no red meat.
- Ensure you’re getting enough calcium and vitamin D as these are known to increase bone density.
- Limit your alcohol consumption and quit smoking (for reasons beyond just posture).
- Use a smart posture trainer to gain body awareness. The UPRIGHT GO 2 detects when you slouch and reminds you to adjust your position with a gentle vibration.
- Don’t stay in one position for too long – move around at every opportunity.
- Get yourself a decent back or neck support pillow to keep your body aligned while sitting.
An exercise in posture correction
If you’re already showing signs of stooped posture, do not fret! This can easily be corrected by doing stretching exercises that not only strengthen your muscles but also increase flexibility. Remember, a strong back and core will help keep you upright for longer.
Stretches that focus on expanding the chest, neck, and upper back include:
Sit up straight. Raise your head so that your ears and shoulders are aligned. Tuck your chin in toward your chest. If this creates a “double chin” effect, you know you’re doing it right. Repeat 10-20 times daily.
Sit up straight. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and pull them back behind your body as if you’re rowing backward. As your arms retract, squeeze your shoulder blades together, taking care to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. Complete 10-20 reps per day.
Sit in a low-backed chair. Clasp your hands behind your head and move your elbows as far back as they’ll go. Lean up and back over the chair, tilting your head toward the ceiling. Take a deep breath and exhale. Perform 5-10 reps daily.
All the advice you’ve read thus far is basic common sense and requires no specialized knowledge. Recovering from stooped posture is something that each of us has the power to do ourselves, albeit with a little gentle encouragement. And what better device to give us a nudge in the right direction than the UPRIGHT GO 2, the world’s smartest posture trainer?