I think we have all seen elder people with a severe curvature of their spine resulting in a hunchback or kyphosis. According to recent research causes include osteoporosis, weakness in core and upper back muscles as well as a history of poor posture. I came across a recent article in the Silver Sneakers newsletter that addresses this issue and recommends some exercises that will help prevent this condition.
You don’t have to be “old” to integrate these exercises into your daily routine. Think of it as preventative….
Exercise #1: Shoulder Squeeze
Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. While pulling your elbows back and down, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Imagine you’re squeezing a lemon between your shoulder blades. Pause, then release. That’s one rep. Complete a total of three sets of 12 to 15 reps, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
Exercise #2: Dead Bug
Do 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise your bent legs up so that your knees are stacked over your hips, keeping a 90-degree bend in your knees. Brace your core to press your low back into the floor; make sure to maintain this flat-back position throughout the entire exercise. With your palms facing each other, bring arms up to point toward the ceiling.
Straighten your left leg and bring it toward the floor (try not to let it touch). At the same time, bring your right arm back toward the floor (try not to let it touch). Pause, then bring your arm and leg back to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side with right leg and left arm extended. That’s one rep. Alternate sides for six to eight reps total. Do three sets, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between each.
Exercise #3: Bird Dog
Do 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Start on all fours with your hands below shoulders and knees below hips. Engage your abs, keep your spine neutral, and gaze down or slightly forward.
Lift your left arm and extend your right leg until they are in line with the rest of your body. Pause, then lower back down, and repeat on the opposite side with right arm and left leg extended. That’s one rep. Perform three sets of six to eight reps, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
Make it easier: Keep your hands on the floor, and only extend your leg.
Exercise #4: Hip Hinge
Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hands on hips. With your weight in your heels, push your hips back behind you, and hinge forward. Continue bending at the hips until your torso is at about 45 degrees, or halfway between upright and parallel to the floor.
Squeeze your rear, push your hips forward, and slowly raise your torso back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
Exercise #5: Bent-Over Row
Do 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps
Grab a pair of dumbbells, and stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Pushing your hips back and allowing your knees to bend slightly, lower your torso until it’s almost parallel with the floor. Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length from your shoulders, palms facing in.
From here, squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells up to the sides of your torso. Pause, then slowly lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform four sets of eight to 10 reps, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
Exercise #6: Stepup
Do 2 sets of 8 to 10 reps per side
Grab a pair of light dumbbells, and hold them at your sides with your palms facing your body. Stand in front of a step. Start with a low step, increasing the height for a challenge.
Set your left foot on the step, push down through your heel, and lift yourself up until your leg is straight. Make sure you do all the work with the leg on the step rather than pushing off the floor with the other.
Step down. That’s one rep. Perform eight to 10 reps or as many as you comfortably can, then repeat on the opposite side. Do two sets total, resting for 30 to 60 seconds between each.
Check with your physician about osteoporosis and remember what your mother said about “sitting up straight” and “no slouching”. Don’t know about you…..I STILL hear her saying “ballerina neck”……..is there a therapy group for this???
If you need some additional exercise inspo, this is a good book