Having a positive posture is an asset in life; it’s not just about vanity. The body is like your real estate: the house or the temple your soul resides in for your human experience. You are in it 24 hours a day and, like driving a car, if it isn’t maintained the journey won’t be as optimum. The subtle body language talks, and as you stand you are telling the world through this unconscious language about who you are and how you feel. Research also shows good posture is one of the most left out pieces of important health advice, especially for those over 50.
Remember: it’s never too late to improve; however, it’s important to develop correct postural awareness at an early age as your muscles lengthen or shorten because of positive or negative posture. Negative posture contributes to spinal issues, back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, knee problems, headaches, breathing difficulties, low energy levels, mental health, premature aging in the face, body and other health conditions. As you can see, negative posture affects a lot and creates long-term stress patterns that impact the body and its form.
Rather than go through pain and contribute to sickness for your life unconsciously, it’s more important to grow awareness and work on your posture for improved wellness.
A young person with negative posture including hunching, if not corrected, will grow into an elderly person that will physically struggle in life. The muscle groups of the body are like a pulley system and, if one part is developed incorrectly, it affects the whole structure of the body as all aspects are interconnected.
Digestion is also impacted as a result of negative posture, especially sitting for too long. With negative posture, key vital organs are compressed causing lack of blood supply, oxygen and even causes bloating and poor digestion of food.
For great posture when over 50 years old, start with the feet, your foundation
For great posture when over 50 years old I recommend, and this is rarely spoken about, starting with the feet, your foundation. It’s essential to strengthen the feet as working out your feet contributes towards strengthening the legs and developing strong core muscles. Then you work upward towards the shoulders and head. I’m sure you would relate to the idea that being grounded and balanced all starts with strong feet, especially as you age. The strengthening of the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles are as essential for the body as a support beam would be in holding up a ceiling in a building structure. Due to lack of society’s awareness and correct postural coaching, sore shoulders can be a result of holding tension there, and weak or no connection with one’s core muscles can create a protruding belly and a sore back. What’s best for good health is to reverse it.
A healthy, balanced lifestyle incorporating food as medicine, breath focus, plenty of water, sleep, exercise, massage, acupuncture and other healthy practices like meditation and mindfulness to bring awareness around how your mind and emotions are tracking and how your body feels, is essential. We are designed to move, to circulate the blood through the body distributing oxygen, vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids to nourish us and “live well” not “live sick” and in pain as the majority of people have been programmed to expect and generally do experience as they age. Living well, including staying vital, looking younger, feeling inspired and passionate through all of the stages is our natural state to activate longevity. Positive posture plays a key role in contributing to your healthy, quality longevity so you can easily achieve the basics of easily sitting, walking, sleeping and participating in suitable exercise. Being gentle to yourself and able to move with “steadiness and ease” and flow is a blessing and my motto.
Daily Sequence to Align Posture
Life is a journey, and we are as we are and perfect within that state; acceptance of that is empowering. Within the range, health conditions may vary and not all exercise suits everyone. Please take care and only participate in what I’m offering if it suits your health condition.
Here is a must-do sequence to align your posture before you do anything every day.
- Stand upright with the feet, and the knuckles of the big toes, together and the heels slightly apart.
- Breathe in through the nose and look down at your feet (initially) and lift your toes and spread them apart. Also now look up and gaze straight ahead. (This can be challenging initially as the feet aren’t used to this sort of movement.) The balls of the feet and heels are on the floor.
- Hold the breath for the count of 3 then exhale through the nose and connect the navel to the spine, lift the pelvic floor and bring the spread toes to the floor (notice the connection of the balls of the toes and heels on the floor.
- As you continue to align the posture, keep gazing straight ahead (or close your eyes for a meditative experience) and, as you breathe in through the nose slowly then hold the breath for the count of 3 and breathe out slowly through the nose, focus on the tops of the feet, shins, kneecaps, the quadriceps muscles, engage your pelvic floor muscles and abdominals.
- Then keep focusing and from the abdominals take your awareness up to your shoulders then lift the shoulders and roll them back and draw the fingertips gently to the floor; feel a long neck. Then bring your awareness to the front of the face to the top of the crown of the head. (You may be swaying if your eyes are shut and if you are it is a sign you could spend more meditative time within. The steadiness comes about as you practice more.)
- Next, regroup and make sure your feet are grounded, your centre is engaged and get a sense of a silver thread lengthening your spine through to the top of the crown of your head to realign the posture. Next, bring your awareness to the back of your skull, neck across the shoulders to the lower lumbar, buttocks, the back of the legs and down to the floor. And there you are, aligned and ready to go.
NB: If you wanted to focus more on the feet and core, follow all the steps then go back to steps 1, 2 and 3, but place the hands slightly overlapping and fingers slightly spread on the belly button. Gaze straight ahead and repeat lifting the toes spreading them, holding then taking them back to the mat, building up the repetitions from 10.
This is good to do daily. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and the core is always softly connected when you’re walking and sitting. If at a desk, it’s important to get up and move every 15 minutes. A pain-free-as-possible body and correct posture assists in cultivating a happy, healthy balanced life. We are designed to move, and this sets up your posture and offers a workout and will benefit you. It will add value to incorporate other daily exercise alongside this sequence.
Credits and © for the Article: Author Januta Ribinskas EQ Coach, Model and Age Positive Activist