Gravity is both friend and foe. When astronauts first returned to earth, researchers observed a decline in muscle and bone mass, which is why their schedules now include regular exercise (I need to see the space station gym btw). The first thing a patient with osteoporosis is advised to do is weight-bearing exercise, so while swimming is a great form of exercise, its application is not as effective as strength training for building bone density.
Resistance training increases bone density because muscles connect to bones via tendons. When a muscle contracts, the tendons apply stress to the bone and, over time, this repetitive force results in increased bone mass. Running or walking is also great for bone density, but only addresses the lower extremities.
We definitely need gravity…but gravity never clocks out. That’s a win for bone density, but bad news for posture. Even when you put in time at the gym to improve your posture, gravity has the upper hand the rest of the day, pulling your head and shoulders forward while, for example, you sit in meetings concentrating on something else.
Most children don’t have chronically poor movement patterns simply because they haven’t been around long enough to establish them. The longer you have to fight the forces of gravity, the more imperative it is that you win the battle! Pepper your day with reminders to sit up straight, engage your core, position your ears over your shoulders, and draw your scapulae together.
Good posture partnered with a comprehensive strength training routine that adds load through multiple planes of motion, incorporating push and pull mechanisms, ensures that your structure can coexist with gravity as an ally.