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Taking care of your posture

Taking Care Of Your Posture Panel

Maintaining good posture is essential for everyone, but it becomes particularly important as we age. Strong, supported posture allows you to move freely, perform daily tasks with ease, and participate in activities you enjoy.

Common scenarios and concerns

Lifestyle and equipment options to help you

Slouching, rounded shoulders

This can lead to back pain, neck pain, fatigue, and reduced lung capacity.

Exercise: Strengthening core and back muscles, yoga, or Pilates. 

Equipment: Lumbar support cushions, posture braces (consult a healthcare professional first).

Difficulty standing for long periods of time

This can lead to an increased risk of falls and limited mobility.

Lifestyle: Regular breaks to stand and move around.

Equipment: Grab bars in strategic locations, raised toilet seats, shower chairs, walking sticks. 

Difficulty getting up from a seated position

This can lead to an increased risk of falls and reduced independence.

Exercise: Strengthening leg and core muscles.

Equipment: Grab bars near chairs and toilets, raised toilet seats, sturdy chairs with armrests. 

 

Why is good posture important?

Good posture goes beyond simply standing up straight. It refers to the correct alignment of your body, supporting your joints and muscles effectively. This alignment helps to:

  • Reduce pain and discomfort: Poor posture puts unnecessary strain on your muscles and joints, leading to aches and pains in your back, neck, and shoulders.
  • Improve balance and stability: Good posture allows your body to distribute weight evenly, minimising the risk of falls and injuries.
  • Increase lung capacity: When your spine is aligned correctly, your lungs have more space to expand, allowing you to breathe more deeply and efficiently.
  • Boost confidence and energy levels: Good posture can project a more confident and energetic persona, contributing to overall well-being.

Common challenges to maintaining good posture

Several factors can contribute to poor posture, especially as we age:

  • Weakening muscles: As we age, our muscle mass naturally decreases. This can make it harder to maintain proper alignment, particularly in the core and back.
  • Reduced flexibility: Over time, our joints can become stiffer, limiting our range of motion and making it more difficult to stand tall and move freely.
  • Arthritis: This condition causes inflammation and pain in the joints, making it uncomfortable to maintain proper posture.
  • Osteoporosis: This condition weakens bones, increasing the risk of spinal fractures and making it difficult to stand straight.
  • Lifestyle habits: Sitting for long periods, slouching, and not engaging in regular physical activity can all contribute to poor posture.

Maintaining good posture in everyday life

Even if you're facing challenges related to age or health conditions, there are ways to improve and maintain good posture:

  • Be mindful of your posture: Throughout the day, consciously check your alignment. Imagine a string gently pulling your head up towards the ceiling, keeping your shoulders relaxed and down, and your spine in a neutral position.
  • Ergonomics are your friend: At home, ensure your workspaces are ergonomically designed. Use chairs with good back support and adjustable heights, and avoid sitting for extended periods. Consider standing desks to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity, even low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or yoga, can strengthen your core and back muscles, improving your ability to maintain good posture.
  • Stretching is key: Regularly stretching your muscles can improve flexibility and range of motion, making it easier to maintain proper alignment.

Equipment and aids to help you with posture

Several assistive devices can help improve your posture and increase independence in your daily life.

For back and neck support

  • Lumbar support cushions: These cushions provide extra support for your lower back while sitting, helping to maintain proper spinal alignment.
  • Posture braces: These braces gently support your shoulders and back, reminding you to maintain proper posture. It's crucial to consult a healthcare professional before using a posture brace to ensure it's appropriate for your specific needs and to receive guidance on proper usage.

For standing and walking

  • Grab bars: Installing grab bars in strategic locations like bathrooms, near stairs, and next to the bed can provide extra support and stability when standing or transferring to different positions.
  • Raised toilet seats: These seats raise the toilet seat height, making it easier and safer to sit down and stand up.
  • Shower chairs: Shower chairs provide a stable seat in the shower, reducing the risk of falls.
  • Walking sticks: Walking sticks can improve balance and stability while walking, particularly outdoors.

Additional tips for maintaining good posture

  • Be mindful of your posture while sleeping: Choose a supportive mattress and pillow that keep your spine aligned. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, which can strain your neck.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps maintain the flexibility of your joints and muscles, making it easier to maintain proper posture.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight can put additional strain on your joints and muscles, making it harder to maintain good posture.
  • Seek professional guidance: If you're experiencing chronic pain or difficulty maintaining good posture, consulting a physiotherapist or occupational therapist can provide personalised guidance and exercises to address your specific needs.

Where to buy equipment to help with your posture

Plymouth City Council, NHS Devon, and Livewell Southwest have jointly commissioned NRS Healthcare to deliver the Safe+Well service, and they have over 2,500 daily living aids that you can purchase by mail order, telephone, or online.

View the Plymouth Safe+Well website

NRS has a dedicated phone line with a trained team of specialists who can answer any questions you might have. Just call 0345 6461860.

Other places to buy equipment from:

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  • Free assessment tool: Select the area of difficulty that is relevant to you. You will then be asked a few questions to guide you towards helpful daily living aids. 
  • Free telephone advice line: Complete the online form, and we will contact you to arrange a convenient time to call.

 


 

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