Studies now show that a loss of height as we age might also indicate a shorter life span. Simply put, the taller we stand, the better we move and the better our heart, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems function. You have to keep moving as you age to keep moving well as you age.
Body motion begins with posture, and posture begins with balance; therefore, posture is how you balance. We live in an aging world, where much of the population will live to be at least 85. Given that good news, we’d prefer not to spend our older years in a wheel chair or using a walker, but rather be spending it hiking, golfing, swimming, and generally enjoying an active life. Because so many people have terrible posture, though, (whether from years of hard physical work, or more currently from “texting” endlessly and sitting hunched over computers), the quality of our longer life span is still in jeopardy.
The basic goal of posture is to stay up and not fall down. With all of the forward leaning that we do, falls are inevitable if proper posture doesn’t compensate and help us to be upright. Falls are the leading cause of deaths due to injury in older adults, and once a fall occurs there is a 50% chance that another will occur within 6 months. The fear that ensues from a fall can keep us from being active, which then leads to increased fragility.
Weak posture creates and perpetuates pain cycles. We adapt to our weak links with what is known as “compensation.” Degeneration occurs when a sedentary lifestyle causes the body to compensate to maintain its stability. Spinal curvature, short leg and an imbalanced pelvis, foot pronation, slumped carriage with a forward head lean, and any injuries not fully rehabilitated will result in pain, dysfunction and poorly adapted compensations.