Postural Retraining For The Elderly – Kyphosis Exercises For The Elderly

Kyphosis Exercises For The Elderly

Aging usually comes with a lot of problems that have adverse impacts on our health, and these problems often include skeletal and spine problems. One of the most prominent spine and skeletal problems that affect the elderly is kyphosis. Simply put, kyphosis occurs when there is an abnormal or exaggerated curvature of the upper part of the spine. It is often characterized by cracked or compressed spinal bones.

Although kyphosis can be seen in individuals of all ages, it is mostly associated with the elderly, especially older women between 50 and 70 years of age. This disorder does not only limit movement in the affected individuals, but it also lowers the quality of their life. However, there are various treatments including proven kyphosis exercises for the elderly that can be used to strengthen spinal bones and reduce or prevent kyphosis.

Statistically, more than 20 percent of the elderly are affected by kyphosis. Therefore, if you are experiencing this spine and skeletal disease, you are not alone as there are many individuals like you. With the aid of the right postural restraining exercises, you can have proper posture which will ensure that you look great, become stronger and feel younger than before. Postural exercises for the elderly can be instrumental in ensuring that the quality of life of the elderly is significantly improved.

Causes and Signs of Kyphosis

Before describing the various kyphosis exercises for the elderly, it is important to explain some of the major causes, signs, and symptoms of kyphosis. Some of the primary causes of kyphosis in the elderly include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Scheuermann’s disease
  • Fractures of the vertebrae
  • Disk degeneration
  • Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments for cancer.

In infants and adolescents, the causes of kyphosis may also include:

  • Marfan syndrome,
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Birth defects that affect the development of the spinal bones.

The elderly with kyphosis may show signs and symptoms such as:

  • Hunchback posture such as slouching
  • Mild or severe back pain
  • Stiffened spine
  • Paralysis or weakness of the legs
  • Severe pressure on the spinal nerves
  • Restriction of movement

Recommended Postural Exercises for the Treatment of Kyphosis

The following postural restraining exercises are known to be capable of improving or preventing the symptoms of kyphosis in the elderly:

Life Extension

This is one of the kyphosis exercises for the elderly that are targeted at making sure that the muscles of the chest are stretched. Also, this exercise is capable of strengthening the weak muscles of the spine.

  1. To perform this exercise, you need to stand tall, keep your knees soft, and ensure that your core is engaged. Simultaneously, make sure that your chest is upright while keeping your shoulder blades down as you are performing this exercise.
  2. When you have achieved a perfect posture, lift up your arms in a Y position and point your thumbs behind you.
  3. Maintain this position for a while and breathe deeply two or three times.

Dumbbell Shrugging Exercise

A set of moderate dumbbells will be required for this postural exercise for the elderly.

  1. Hold the dumbbells in your hands while standing upright and slowly widen your feet. Ensure your feet are kept hip-width apart while your shoulders are down and back.
  2. In that position, lift and bring down your shoulders in a slow shrugging movement.

Mirror Image Exercise

This simple kyphosis exercise for the elderly is aimed at forcing you to move against the restriction caused by kyphosis.

  1. Put your back against the wall and stand tall.
  2. Push your chin out slightly and also position your head directly above your shoulders.
  3. Slowly bring your shoulder blades back and down and maintain this position for about 30 seconds or more depending on how long you can go without feeling extreme pain.

If you are experiencing difficulties with making your head to touch the wall without disrupting your chin position, take advantage of a pillow. Place the pillow at your back and force your head into it.

Prone Extension

  1. Lie on the floor with your face down. It is advisable for you to perform this postural restraining exercise on a mat.
  2. Keep your arms down by your side with your palms facing up while putting your feet together.
  3. In slow motion, raise your chest off the ground. You should lower your body to the ground once you are becoming uncomfortable. Do not hyper-extend your back while performing this exercise.
  4. Afterward, squeeze your shoulder blades, then raise and rotate your arms and maintain the position for just 10 seconds. Make sure that your head aligns with the other parts of your body as you are performing prone extension.

Superman Pose

  1. Slowly lie on your stomach and stretch your arms in front of your head. Meanwhile, gently position your head in a way that it faces the floor.
  2. Raise your arms and legs up. Keep your body in this position for three seconds.

This kyphosis exercise for the elderly should be repeated ten times.

Hamstring Extension

  1. Lie on your back and keep your legs on the floor.
  2. Lift one of your legs and position it into your chest. Use your hands to gently draw the leg closer to your chest until a slight tension is felt. Maintain this position for about 30 seconds or as long as you can do without straining your legs.
  3. The same exercise should be repeated for the second leg.

Thoracic Spine Exercise

This is a form of foam rolling exercise that can help in strengthening the muscles found in the thoracic spine and back.

  1. Place a foam roller on the floor and lie down on it. Make sure that your mid-back is lying directly on the foam roller.
  2. In slow motion, roll your body up and down while you are still on the foam roller.

As you do this, the muscles of your spine and back are massaged gently and soothingly. You can continue this exercise for as long as you want.

Reverse Flye Exercise

A set of lightweight dumbbells and weight bench will be required for this postural exercise for the elderly.

  1. Sit at the edge of a weight bench. Ensure that your abdominal muscles are tight while your back is straight.
  2. Bring your chest forward; stop just above your knees.
  3. Raise your arm until they reach the shoulder level and squeeze the blades of the shoulder gently.
  4. Put your arms down, placing them on beside your body.

For better effect without injuring yourself, avoid lifting your arms above your shoulder level.

Head Retraction

This particular kyphosis exercise for the elderly helps in improving the weak muscles of the neck.

  1. Lie on the floor.
  2. Tuck your chin closer to the floor. This stretches the muscles in your neck.
  3. Maintain this position for at least 15 minutes and then take a rest.

This exercise should be repeated for five or more times.

Kyphosis Exercises to Avoid

As an elderly person, you are at a delicate stage of your life. Resultantly, there are some kyphosis exercises to avoid as they may put you at risks of certain danger; especially if you are suffering from osteopenia, osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions.

The kyphosis exercises to avoid include:

  • Yoga poses that involve slouching procedures
  • Crunches
  • Cardiovascular exercises that involve slouching poses
  • Seated row exercises
  • Chest fly
  • Extreme back stretches
  • Toe touch with a twist
  • Chest press
  • Exercises that involve pulling down or stretching the laps
  • Knee extensions

If you can avoid the aforementioned kyphosis exercises, you can easily stay out of dangers while trying to improve your postural conditions.

Important Tips about Kyphosis Exercise for the Elderly

  • Postural restraining exercises are not magical; therefore, it will take time for you to start experiencing significant improvement in your condition. As a result, you must be consistent in performing these postural exercises for the elderly. It is advisable that you do the exercises about four times each week while taking rest in between to avoid straining your body.
  • You should pay attention to your body as you are performing these exercises. Although it is normal to experience slight pain at the beginning of the exercise, you should stop the exercises if your pain increases. In such a situation, you need to seek help from your physician.
  • Also, it is recommended that you consult a doctor before committing yourself to any of these recommended kyphosis exercises for the elderly. This consultation will help you determine the specific exercises that are suitable for your condition.


In a nutshell, you should take the bull by the horn today by taking up the right kyphosis exercises for the elderly that can play a pivotal role in preventing or improving your posture. With determination and adequate knowledge, you can improve the quality of your life and get your life back on the right track.

Categories: Men And Women

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