Just being aware of how you are sitting or standing can lead to better posture.
by Leslie Sokol
Maintaining a sense of purpose is important for a healthy lifestyle. If you find yourself retired and in a different stage of life, it’s a great time to indulge yourself and try new things. How about those hobbies that you always wanted to do but never had the time for? Now you can engage in positive activities that spark that magic from within. Keeping your mind and body active is crucial to a healthy lifestyle.
Research shows that negative stereotypes about aging are internalized over a person’s lifespan. These thoughts can harm your physical and cognitive health as you grow older. Developing an awareness of these messages can help you understand how they influence you. Aging does not have to be a negative or declining time in your life. With a positive and healthy attitude, you can accomplish many of the things you’ve always dreamed of doing.
Don’t forget – age is just a number! Perhaps it is not the number of years we live but how we age that matters most. It’s never too late and you are never too old to explore new interests. Living in the moment is crucial. Be active – join a club, do volunteer work, get involved in your retirement community, socialize with your neighbors, friends and family. You can also dance, exercise, paint, play board games or try whatever piques your interest and keeps you engaged.
Be sure to also make the time to work on staying physically active. Small changes can lead to big health benefits. How we stand and sit affects all parts of the body. Good posture increases energy, improves balance, lessens the chance of injuries, helps minimize back issues and so much more.
To start, sit or stand with your back straight, shoulders down, chin up, chest out, and your stomach pulled in. By keeping your core muscles tight and strong, you will stay centered and balanced.
When walking (either on your own or with a walker), keep your body weight centered, placing one foot in front of the other while looking straight ahead and focusing on what’s in front of you (be sure to double check that your path is clear first!)
There are also several stretches you can do to improve your posture:
1) While seated or standing, stretch your arms up slowly over your head, pulling your stomach in and bringing your shoulders down. Inhale slowly as you raise your arms and then exhale while lowering your arms and leaning forward from the waist. Try keeping your back flat and stretch outward with your chin and chest. Repeat four to six times.
2) From a seated position, bend forward from the waist with your arms bent and elbows facing forward. As you lean forward, try and get as close to your knees as possible and then slowly raise yourself back to the starting position. Repeat 8-15 times. Add more repetitions as you get comfortable with the movement.
Just being aware of how you are sitting or standing can lead to better posture, which in turn leads to better health. This is what living in the moment is all about!
Leslie Sokol is the creator and founder of the adult dance and fitness program For the Young at Heart. She has been teaching adults and children for forty-five years. You can watch For the Young at Heart by visiting her YouTube Channel or on TVSB. She also teaches in retirement communities throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.