Great Posture Never Goes Out of Style

Diana Moran – The Lady 21st April 2016 – Great posture never goes out of style.

“Jane reminds us that God is in his heaven, the monarch on his throne and the pelvis firmly beneath the ribcage. Apparently rock and roll liberated the pelvis and it hasn’t been the same since” says the delightful Emma Thompson on her heroine – Jane Austen.

Our posture is the position in which we hold our body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. But if like me you sometimes stand or sit incorrectly the result is a headache or back pain! Ouch. Our bodies were designed to move with rhythm and ease, just watch a good gardener scything through tall grass, his whole body moving in harmony and natural grace. Sitting down is something we do to take the weight off our feet, but our daily routine should be a mixture of sitting, standing and moving. But, the style and pace of our modern life makes it difficult to maintain this balance, so we spend much of our time hunched up over a desk peering at a screen or driving long distances straining our eyes, with pain and discomfort resulting from these uncomfortable postures.  We need to retrain our bodies to sit and to stand correctly.

Correcting our posture can feel awkward at first because our body has become used to our bad habits, but with correct posture and our body in good alignment we can alleviate headaches, back or neck pain, and fatigue.  Every morning I stretch for 10 minutes, checking any pains or strains before I start the day. And good posture involves training our bodies to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where less strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments.  Strength and flexibility exercises correct muscle imbalances, improve body awareness, makes our backs strong and resilient and alleviate muscle tension.  Standing (or sitting) tall will boost your bearing and self-confidence and help you look and feel younger! Great posture never goes out of style.

Question

My 80-year-old mother suffers from osteoporosis.   She recently fell and broke her hip and is in danger of losing her physical independence.   I’ve heard that osteoporosis can run in families.   Is this true?   If so what can I do to avoid it?  Anne D – Berkshire

Answer

Dear Anne, I’m sorry to learn of your mother’s accident.   Osteoporosis – fragile bone disease affects 3 million people in the UK.  1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men will break a bone mainly as a result of poor bone health.

However, in many cases it is a preventable disease, and not just a consequence of growing older.  Look at your lifestyle. Does it include a well-balanced diet containing plenty of calcium plus vitamin D to build strong bones, and regular weight bearing exercise? This changes have been found to help prevent the disease.   Some women are more at risk genetically and you need to be aware of this.   So, Anne, please consult your doctor.   He may recommend a change in lifestyle, HRT (hormone replacement therapy) or specialized drugs to slow down bone loss and maintain bone density.   Talk to your Doctor about your bone density.  It can be monitored with a bone scan (Dexa) screening although it’s not always available on the NHS.  Alternatively, you could contact a private clinic that would perform a bone scan for a fee. Good luck Anne and for more information www.nos.org.uk

Question

As the years go by I find I need to eat less than I used to.   What are your Golden rules (or should I say Green rules) for a healthy eating plan as we get older? Margaret P – London

Answer

Dear Margaret, don’t worry! As we age we can make more of our lives by eating a healthy well balanced diet, it’s that simple! A poor diet can all too often be linked to certain preventable diseases or conditions.  For example, an excess of sugary foods leads to tooth decay and obesity, too much fat in the diet contributes to heart disease whilst too little fibre causes constipation and possible cancer of the colon and bowel. Eating too much of the wrong foods makes the skin, especially on the face, pallid and spotty.

Let’s not forget we eat to give our bodies energy in order to function.   All foods and drinks contain calories which are a measure of energy needed for our body to function and to repair.  The main sources of energy come from Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats.   Many people need less food and those excess calories simply get stored up as unsightly fat deposits around our bodies! So what foods should we be eating?  Well I like to keep things simple, so let’s cut through the maze of advice and look at my basic rules for a well-balanced and nutritious diet.

Eat less of the 3 S’s

  • LESS Saturated fats (Cut down on the amount of red meat by substituting chicken or fish).
  • LESS Sugar
  • LESS Salt

Eat more of the 3 F’s

  • MORE Fish
  • MORE Fibre (Fibre helps improve the digestion)
  • MORE Fruits and vegetables

It’s that simple Margaret – I look forward to knowing how you get on!