Let’s set the record straight. Every time a loved one or teacher told you to sit up or to stop slouching, they weren’t just nagging. They were just looking out for you and your well-being.
Yes, your health can be tied to your posture.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “Years of slouching wears away at your spine to make it more fragile and prone to injury. Holding your body and moving in unhealthy ways often leads to neck, shoulder, and back pain.”
And with increased use of smartphones and laptops, Americans are spending more time in a slouched position. The average adult spends three hours on a computer each day. As a result, more people have rounded shoulders and their heads are forward.
It’s important, especially as you age, to not only sit up a little straighter, stand up a little taller. Being mindful of your posture, becoming aware of your muscles, and even targeted exercise can help reverse health complications and live life better.
But exercising when you’re already struggling with the effects of poor posture? It can be hard to get motivated to go to a fitness facility. Water exercise is a low-impact way to improve your posture and better your overall fitness. With a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa, you can enjoy the benefits of water exercise without leaving the comfort and privacy of your backyard.
Why is posture important for seniors?
The world’s population is getting older. According to the United Nations, the percentage of people who are 65 and over will reach 16 percent by 2050. In 2019, just 9 percent of the population was 65 or older.
As we get older, a growing concern is the generation’s posture. Standing in a stooped position is often a sign of aging, caused by the flattening of the discs in the spine. Small spinal fractures that often go unnoticed and a loss of muscle tone can cause poor posture as we age. Research shows that it is estimated that 20 percent to 40 percent of elderly people have an accentuated thoracic posture [source], the scientific way of describing being hunched over.
But this stooped posture is more than a sign of changes in the body. For seniors, it can also be the cause of gait and balance challenges. Poor posture as you age can also increase your risk of falling and contribute to chronic pain.
Practicing good body position, though, can help you improve balance, stay steady on your feet, and continue doing what you love. Good posture can also help active seniors play tennis, golf, walk, and swim.
But good posture is more than a way to help seniors stay active. Seniors also need good posture to accomplish daily tasks, like getting up from a chair, carrying bags of groceries, and going up and down stairs.
Best posture exercises for seniors
The first way to improve your posture is to be aware of your posture. Whether you are walking to the car or walking for exercise, think about how your body is aligned. Are your shoulders back and down? Is your core supporting your spine? Are you holding your head forward?
This mindfulness is one of the first (and best) exercises you can do to reduce joint pain and reduce the stress on your joints. But incorporating specific exercises to improve your posture and balance can be particularly valuable.
But many seniors struggle to stay active. According to the CDC, 28 percent of adults who were 50 and older were inactive. Inactivity was higher among people who were managing chronic disease. The report states that it’s important to create safe spaces and find convenient ways to move.
Exercising in the water reduces the pressure on your joints, taking away the pain associated with other types of exercise. Aquatic exercise and therapy can make it easier for seniors to improve their posture and stay active out of the water, too.
An at-home swim spa or therapy pool is a safe space for water exercise. Not only can seniors improve their overall fitness and strength but posture, too. These posture exercises for the swim spa can help.
Water walking in a swim spa is great for posture and benefits lower body muscle tone. Set the water current to a gentle pace and walk toward the propulsion unit of the spa. Be sure to stand tall, with your shoulders back and down. Avoid walking on your tiptoes. Michael Phelps swim spas have a non-slip flooring system that makes water walking comfortable and safe.
Standing water push-ups
Push-ups are an extremely effective exercise, whether you do them on land or in the water. The movement engages the shoulder, chest, and back muscles. To do a water push–up in the swim spa, stand facing the side of the spa and put your hands on the edge. Lean into the swim spa, bending both arms at the elbow. Pause at the bottom of the motion and then push out to return to the starting position.
Single arm row
You can use aquatic dumbbells or resistance bands for this swim spa exercise. Pull one arm back, squeezing shoulder blades together and then return. Perform eight to 10 reps and then repeat on the other side. Rowing exercises help to strengthen your back, which keeps the postural muscles strong.
Kickboard chest press
Hold the kickboard in front of you with both hands. Bring the kickboard toward your chest; pause. Push the kickboard out, extending your arms straight.
Tricep push backs
Standing in the swim spa, engage your core by bringing your belly button toward your spine. With your arms straight and palms facing back, push your arms backward. Squeeze your triceps as your arms lift. Return your arms to the starting position, near your hips. Perform eight to 10 repetitions. When you do this exercise, you might also feel a good stretch in your chest.
Stand in a staggered position, as if you were going to do a lunge. Be sure to have good posture — shoulders and head forward. Float your arms out to your sides. Reach your arms forward, then sweep them out to the sides, your hands skimming the surface, then back in front of you. Do 10 reps, then switch your stance.
Standing knee lift
Stand with your back against the swim spa and both feet on the floor. Lift one knee like you are marching in place. While your knee is even with your hip, straighten your knee so your leg is parallel to the floor of the swim spa. Continue to bend and straighten your knee 10 times, then repeat on the other leg. As you get stronger, you can try this exercise in the middle of the spa.
How to buy a swim spa
Are you ready to enjoy the benefits of swimming, recreation, and relaxation year-round — even in the winter? Having a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa at home allows you to enjoy the benefits of a pool without the maintenance. You can click here to get more backyard ideas and picture what a Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa would look like in your space. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about swim spa ownership. Wondering how much a Michael Phelps swim spa costs? You can request a quote here.