Best Posture Exercises For Seniors

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A senior person exercising outdoors.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, poor posture can be improved even if it has been bugging you for years [1]. You can do so by exercising, minding your posture while sitting, and using a more ergonomic chair.

Posture exercises are ideal because they require little to no investment and bring many health benefits. With that, here are a few posture exercises that you should try [2][3].

6 Best Posture Exercises For Seniors

1. Chin tucks and juts

Follow these steps to perform chin tucks:

  1. You may perform the exercise sitting or standing.
  2. Pull your chin back, as if you want to make a double chin. Your chin should go straight back – don’t lift it up.
  3. Then, gently jut your chin forward.

And here’s a video demonstration:

In most people, the neck area of the spine tilts forward, causing a forward head position and rounded shoulders. The goal of this exercise is to bring your neck vertebrae into a neutral position.

2. Wall tilts

Wall tilts are done as follows:

  1. Stand or sit with your back against a wall.
  2. Place your hand behind your lower back.
  3. Pull your ab muscles and tuck your pelvis under so that your lower back flattens. If you feel pressure on your hand, you are doing wall tilts correctly.
  4. Make sure that your shoulders and head stay in contact with the wall throughout the motion.

Wall tilts help you strengthen the pelvis and gluteal muscles, which can improve lower back posture and relieve lower back pain.

3. Wall arm circles

Wall arm circles are a good step up if you feel that wall tilts are easy for you. Here’s how to do this exercise:

  1. Stand with your back against a wall.
  2. Walk your feet out about 6 inches from the wall.
  3. Lean against the wall and tuck your pelvis to make your lower back touch the wall.
  4. Pull your head and shoulders back so they also touch the wall.
  5. If you can, try to lift your arms to the sides and then above your head. Make sure that your arms, lower back, head, and shoulders keep touching the wall as you do so.
  6. When your hands touch at the top, bring them back down, again ensuring that they contact the wall.

For added challenge, you may try “wall angels”, like so:

 

4. Scapular retractions

You’ll need a resistance band to perform scapular retractions. If you do have one, do the following:

  1. Loop the band around something sturdy, like a door frame.
  2. Take the ends of the resistance band into each hand. If your resistance band has handles, it will be more comfortable to use.
  3. Walk back until you feel tension in the band.
  4. Extend your arms in front of you, parallel to the floor.
  5. Keeping your arms straight, pull your shoulder blades back and together.

You may also perform this exercise with your arms bent or down by your sides:

 

5. Bird dogs

For bird dogs, you’ll ideally need an exercise mat or another soft surface.

To perform bird dogs, do the following:

  1. Get down on your hands and knees.
  2. Look straight down to keep your neck in a neutral position.
  3. Engage your abdominal muscles to support and straighten your back. Your back should be neutral, without any arching.
  4. Lift your right leg and extend it straight behind you.
  5. Lift your right arm and extend it in front of you.
  6. Hold the position for a few seconds and repeat with the opposite leg and arm. Make sure that your back does not arch through the movement.

If this exercise feels too difficult, you may start by lifting only your legs or arms, one at a time.

6. Cat cow

The cat cow exercise helps you stretch and massage your spine, relieving tension in the neck, shoulders, torso, as well as promoting blood circulation.

And here’s how to perform this exercise:

  1. Get down on your hands and knees.
  2. Inhale. As you inhale, slowly look up, lower your abdomen toward the ground, and extend your spine.
  3. Exhale. As you exhale, slowly arch your spine toward the ceiling, look down, and tuck your chin into your chest.
  4. Continue doing the exercise for one minute.

You may also perform this exercise while standing:

 

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Sources:
  1. “Is it too late to save your posture?”, Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/is-it-too-late-to-save-your-posture.
  2. “Five Easy Exercises to Help Seniors Improve Their Posture”, Aspen Senior Day Center, https://www.aspenseniorcenter.org/five-easy-exercises-to-help-seniors-improve-their-posture/.
  3. “12 Exercises to Improve Your Posture”, Healthline, https://www.healthline.com/health/posture-exercises.
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