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  • Writer's pictureDr. Shawn A. Weiss, PT, DPT, CDP, CADDCT

Sit Up Straight: Posture Matters

Updated: Jul 2

As you're listening, or watching on YouTube, sit up straight because we're going to talk about posture. Posture plays into overall health and our digestive system. It also lifts us up right, both emotionally and physically, there's so many things that posture plays into overall health. Dr. Shawn Weiss joins Suzanne Newman on the Answers for Elders podcast to talk about how good posture can improve our health, particularly as we age.

Dr. Shawn says, "If you look at people over 70 you might see the effects. Maybe they're slouched over, they're significantly rounded over. It takes years to get that way. That's why it's so important  to start looking at your posture now. Spinal alignment – when you have good posture, then you're maintaining those natural curves of the spine. Sit up, have your hips square, put your feet on the ground. Maintaining spinal alignment is super, super important. If your spine is aligned, then your muscles are balanced. If you are somebody that sits on your couch, and you're leaning over all the time, and you've got one leg underneath you, and you do that all the time for years, it's going to have an effect on your structure. Keeping your muscles balanced is super important because that's preventing pain, that's preventing injury. We want those muscles to be strong and working for you.

"So spinal alignment, muscle balance. The other big thing is breathing. The easiest way to explain that is if you are getting a little bit more rounded when you sit. What happens when you start getting more rounded is that is closing up your chest wall. All of those muscles are going to get tight. You're not getting good lung expansion. When you start to breathe in, you're not able to get full capacity and get good air exchange.

"As we get older as we start slouching more, we start seeing all of these muscles get tight, and then the muscles in the back get overly stretched. So they become weak. It's super important from a breathing standpoint that we're able to get good air exchange. I work with people that have COPD, that are on oxygen, or have other pulmonary issues. One of the first things I'm working on with them is posture to maximize airflow."

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