The human body is absolutely amazing and most people don’t realize the degree to which posture and health are related. Our posture affects every physiologic function from breathing to blood pressure. Not only is it imperative that we keep moving and engaging our bodies throughout life, but now more than ever we need to take counter measures against the slow and debilitating effects of aging, and posture training is exactly what we need to learn and then implement daily practice.
Here’s an excerpt from the Body Zone website:
“The unbalanced bio-mechanical stress of asymmetric posture not only molds muscles and ligaments, but over time the bones themselves actually bend and collapse. A height-loss study conducted by researchers at the University of London concluded that men who lost the most height as they aged had a much greater risk of dying as compared to those losing less. Bad posture leads to loss in height and ultimately causes physical restriction of the lungs and abdominal organs. The net impact is a significantly greater risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and respiratory mortality.
Posture and motion not only affect how long you live, but also how well you live. People with strong posture recover faster from injuries, exercise more effectively, have less pain, have a more positive outlook on life, and even look more youthful. Bad posture leads to loss in height and ultimately causes physical restriction of the lungs and abdominal organs. The net impact is a significantly greater risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and respiratory mortality.
Posture and motion not only affect how long you live, but also how well you live. People with strong posture recover faster from injuries, exercise more effectively, have less pain, have a more positive outlook on life, and even look more youthful.”
Why your posture isn’t perfect
Did you ever notice that images in books or posters about “good posture” are practically always drawings and not photographs? Perfect Posture is an ideal. Pictures about how to “stand straight” or sit at your computer in an ergonomically correct position are fictional. People don’t really take time to optimize their posture environment.
Your posture is the practical end result of how you balance your body. Real people don’t have “perfect posture” because posture is the result of how imperfect bodies adapt to old injuries and living in the real world. However, there are better (or stronger) and worse (or weaker) postures. Poorly balanced posture requires more energy to stay upright, causing some areas to carry more stress and wear out more quickly than nature intended.
The good news: Weak posture can be strengthened. Improving posture and health involves more than just telling someone to stand straight and keep their shoulders back. Improving posture means strengthening how the body balances, and how it moves.
your posture and aging
If we let it, the aging process often begins with avoidance of movement. Some people begin early in life to limit their activity because of pain or what they perceive may cause pain. Some people limit their activity due to past injuries. The injury causes abnormal movement patterns which actually result in pain. Many other people eliminate activity just because they think it will cause discomfort. In some cases the only limitations we have are those we place on ourselves. Youth is a feeling not an age. Think young and be young!
Posture can be improved at any age. While you can’t force good posture by ‘standing up straight,’ you can begin a program to improve posture step-by-step. Each session of your StrongPosture® exercise program will move you towards improving balance, alignment, and symmetry of motion. Most also report relief from postural neck and back pain. Overtime you’ll be surprised at the difference in how you feel, and even how others see you. The bottom line is, when you keep moving you feel good and age well.
Posture, falls and balance are connected. There are things you can do to change the odds. Getting help after experiencing a fall improves the chance of survival by about 80% and will increase the likelihood of returning to independent living, and normal daily activities. Improving posture, awareness, balance and activity levels can also reduce the risk of falls. Making a change begins with becoming aware of our posture, retraining our motion patterns, and then developing new habits.
The common bent over posture of old age occurs as a result of the body adapting to long-term poor posture. Injuries and age cause the joints to stiffen and the muscles to tighten. As posture becomes more bent forward the muscles have to work harder to keep the body balanced, which makes the muscles progressively tighter.
StrongPosture® exercises teach control and balance. When we start to fall, we can say we have bad balance, or we can see it is a way of learning where our inside reality and the outside reality disagree. Being conscious of a problem is the first step to change. Incorporating the systematized StrongPosture® program into your routine in just a few minutes each day will set you on a path to strengthening balance, alignment, and motion. Over time you’ll be surprised not only at the difference in how you feel, but even how others see you.
The bottom line is, when you keep moving you, feel good and age well.
What is a CPEP? Certified Posture Exercise Professional
Certified Posture Exercise Professional (CPEP®)
CPEPs are independent health, fitness and/or wellness professionals who have acquired or are pursuing posture specialist training through the intensive CPEP® program, led by BodyZone.com founder Dr. Steven Weiniger, renowned posture expert, delegate to the White House Conference on Aging, and author of Stand Taller Live Longer. The CPEP program has set the international standard in postural assessment and strengthening posture through focused motion exercise to improve patient/client outcome by improving balance, alignment, functional motion and performance.
When working with a CPEP, they will often begin by assessing the mechanics of how your body is moving with a posture assessment and then will work with you to create a customized treatment plan that includes exercise to improve your posture. The StrongPosture® exercise protocols CPEPs teach work to systematically strengthen posture by working on all three elements of posture: Balance, Alignment and Motion. CPEPs usually focus on one element at a time to build awareness and increase your ability to control that element, building a virtuous spiral of postural strength.
Improving posture has been shown to relieve pain and joint stress, while also improving balance, energy levels, functional motion, and flexibility, ability to breathe deeply, appearance, confidence and athletic performance.
Subtle changes in posture spreads to all your daily habits, which is why the StrongPosture® exercise protocols CPEPs offer have helped thousands to look, feel and perform at their best while minimizing postural and joint stress.
Who can teach me to do StrongPosture® Exercise?
Certified Posture Exercise Professionals (CPEP) are the only people trained and certified to teach StrongPosture® exercises. To be eligible for posture coaching CPEPs must complete extensive training, and must pass a written examination and demonstrate profiency in teaching and adapting the StrongPosture® protocols to people of various levels of fitness and ability, for both injury rehab and wellness. You can verify the status of a CPEP by using the CPEP posture specialist locator (look for results containing the CPEP logo).
CPEP Professionals may teach, within the scope of their state law and professional licensing or certification board. Professionals holding CPEP posture specialty certification includes doctors (DC, DO, MD, DPT, OMD), therapists (PT, OT, L.Ac, MT, LMT, RMT, NMT), trainers (AT, CPT), fitness instructors (Yoga, Pilates, Alexander Technique, Rolfing, Feldenkrais), nurses, among other professionals. CPEPs® usually offer posture exercise along with other specialties, techniques or therapies as part of a treatment plan or exercise regime.