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  • Andrea Cziprusz

Stand Taller: How to Combat the “Stoop”

Age-related changes in the spine, such as decreased bone density, disc height, and muscle loss, can all contribute to the dreaded forward pitching. Unfortunately, poor posture can lead to impaired balance, breathing difficulties, and make daily activities more challenging. The good news is, regular exercise can help combat age-related changes and lead to a healthier you.

Balance and core exercises are a great way to improve your posture. Look into joining a senior yoga or pilates class to target your core muscle strength and consider joining a Tai Chi class to find your inner balance. If nothing else, just keep moving. Walking is one of the best things you can do to keep your muscles strong and your endurance up. Use these cues to assess your posture, then practice applying them while walking. Begin by looking in the mirror. Stand up as tall as you can, elongating your spine. Are your chin, shoulder, and hip in a straight line?

Shrug your shoulders up and down several times, then let them relax down by your side. Think about squeezing your shoulder blades down and back gently to open up your chest.

  1. Tighten your core muscles by pulling your belly button slightly in and up. Holding slight tension in your core muscles while you walk will help improve your abdominal strength and balance. With practice, you should be able to engage your core muscles and breath naturally.

  2. When you walk, make sure you are not looking down at your feet. Hold your chin up (parallel to the ground) and look about 20ft ahead of you.

  3. If you walk with an assistive device, make sure the height is properly adjusted to avoid an excessive forward bend.

Ready to take it to the next level? Give these exercises a try.

For more resources, you can also check out the wealth of information and free exercise videos provided by Silver Sneakers.

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