Researchers at the University of London divided 4,200 men aged 40-59 into 4 groups by how much height they lost over 20 years. Men who lost the most height had a much greater risk of dying as compared to those losing less. The authors speculated that the physical restriction of the lungs and abdominal organs caused significantly greater risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and respirator mortality.
In other words, Stand Taller and Live Longer.
In addition, as the unbalanced bio-mechanical stress of asymmetric posture not only molds muscles and ligaments, but over time the bones themselves actually bend and collapse Osteoporosis, a loss of bone calcium common in post-menopausal women, is commonly pointed to as a cause of compression fractures and the “dowager’s hump” posture, leading to loss of height.
The Harvard Medical School Adviser recently asserted that despite the bone-weakening effects of osteoporosis: “Some research suggests that vertebral fractures have been overrated as a cause of height loss and hunching. Another big reason may simply be bad posture.”
Despite strong evidence that posture exercise helps prevent stooped posture and strengthen balance to prevent falls and fractures, there is little media focus on strengthening posture.
The posture and balance problems associated with aging are commonly accepted as “part of getting old” and therefore are not treated. This is not necessarily true. Unlike the ads for osteoporosis drugs paid for by pharmaceutical companies, there are no advertising campaigns promoting the significant improvements in posture and reduction of fractures in post-menopausal women associated with regular StrongPosture® exercises.
Ironically, another reason to keep your body moving as you advance in years, and why posture-related problems are a growing epidemic in seniors, is that as healthcare improves in other areas people are living longer. The person who suffered a heart attack at age 65 that would have been fatal ten years ago now may live another twenty years, and is at greater risk of posture and joint degeneration. The longer people live, the more time the accumulated consequences of postural “sins of their youth” have to catch up with them.
Posture and motion don’t only affect how long you live, but also how well you live. Postural and bio-mechanically related back problems are the number three reason for all doctor visits (the common cold and other respiratory infections are number one and two).
Consider these numbers:
• 80 percent of Americans are afflicted with back pain at some point in their lives.
• 65 million Americans suffer from back pain every year.
• Musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis, low back pain, and repetitive motion strain, are the leading cause of absenteeism.
• 83% of Americans rely on over-the-counter pain relievers.
• 2/3 of the people who have experienced back pain can expect some symptoms every year.
• Low back pain is the most common cause of disability for people under age 45, causing lost productivity in addition to non-monetary costs such as diminished enjoyment of life and the ability to perform normal daily activities.
Ironically, the desire for a permanent solution leads many people suffering bio-mechanical problems to radical spinal surgery, despite its far-less-than-enviable record. This desire for a quick, permanent fix can lead to permanent post-surgical tissue adhesions and scars, and FBSS (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome).
A far more intelligent solution is changing how you move and use your body – in other words, your posture. Ten minutes a day of StrongPosture® exercise can help you become posture conscious and literally retrain how your body moves. Reprogramming your “normal” posture takes a consistent effort initially to create the habit of daily StrongPosture® exercise and a health Motion Cycle.
Regardless of age, or level of activity, investing a few minutes a day and focusing on your Balance, your Alignment, and your body Motion with posture exercise will help strengthen your body’s bio-mechanics in everything you do.
Dr. Steven Weiniger