The Benefits Of Good Posture In Later Life


Elderly woman practicing stretching for good posture

Accumulated evidence shows that a good spinal posture is important to maintain independent lives. Sitting or standing in a slouched position for prolonged periods of time stresses your lower back. More specifically, it puts pressure on the posterior structures of the spine, including the intervertebral discs, facet points, ligaments, and muscles. Poor posture can contribute to tension headaches, due to increased muscle tension in the back of the neck. Often if we correct our posture, we can reduce muscle tension and improve our headaches.


Bad posture is a common issue for most of people of all ages, and just about everyone could do with some lessons on the importance of keeping their posture right when standing or sitting. Although elderly, in particular, can benefit from improving their posture - it's never too late to make small changes!


Elderly who have poor posture are more likely to fall and experience injuries. Practising good posture can help maintain independence.


If you are a Carer, practising good posture can help you retain the strength you need to accomplish daily tasks or if you just want to keep your good posture as you get older.

If your posture could use some work, these five easy exercises can help - we wrote these with both our Clients and Carers in mind!


1. Chin Tucks

This is a great exercise you can do while sitting or standing. The goal is to work on stacking the bones in your neck (cervical vertebrae) so they are in a neutral position.

To do this exercise, start by sitting up straight. Then, pull your chin forward, as though you’re making a double chin. Make sure it goes directly forward — don’t lift your chin toward the ceiling. After pulling your chin back, gently jut it forward in the opposite direction.


2. Wall Tilts

This is a great exercise for strengthening the pelvis and gluteal muscles. This, in turn, helps relieve lower back pain and improve lower back posture.

Start by standing with your back against a wall. Place one hand behind your lower back and pull your abdominal muscles in and tuck your pelvis under. This will cause your lower back to flatten — you will know you are doing it correctly if you are putting pressure on your hand. Keep your shoulders and back of your head against the wall while you do this.

If this exercise is too difficult to do while standing, try doing it while sitting down with your back to the wall. Ask your Live-in Carer to support you if needed.


3. Bridges

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your core without changing your back position. Lift your hips and lower torso off of the ground by contracting your pelvic muscles. Slowly lower your hips back down.

What to look for? Do not anticipate a decrease in lower back pain on your first day. By stretching your chest, and strengthening your core and upper back muscles, you will see a gradual but noticeable pain reduction.


4. Head Retraction

Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Pull your chin back toward the floor like you are trying to make a double chin. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat 10 times.

Headache prevention will differ from person to person. If you are not experiencing the progress you want, incorporate more core exercises and pectoral stretches into your routine.


Tips to Further Improve Your Posture

In addition to performing these exercises regularly, following these tips can help you improve your posture even more:

  • Exercise regularly to reduce stiffness and further strengthen your muscles

  • Work on improving your balance with Yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi

  • Manage your weight to prevent back strain

  • Use an ergonomic chair when sitting down for long periods of time

  • Sleep on your side and make sure your head is level with your neck

  • When carrying a weight, make sure you spread it equally for both arms


You can also use tools designed to help you straighten your back. For example, back braces assist in maintaining good posture.

Be patient – self-care takes time but the effort is absolutely worth it.