Every once in a while I sit at a red light and see an elderly person crossing the street with extremely stooped posture like the woman in the photo. Ending up this way is a great fear for many people and it leads to our cultures insistence on standing up straight in a way that I think serves us poorly.
Here is my theory on stooped posture that has no basis in anything but my observation. I think everyone leans backwards when they think they are standing up straight. I think everyone leans backwards because they can. It is as simple as that. Human beings are the first and only animals with a curve in our lower spine. It is this curve that allows us to be upright and walk on two legs.
It is also this curve that allows us to lean backwards. The leaning backwards posture that most people embody simply takes place because it can. There is nothing but awareness to keep us from leaning backwards and continually compressing our lumbar spine.
So my theory is—the people that are stooped so far over in old age are the people who leaned backwards the most in middle age. As we age and lose muscle tone that might not have been too existent in the first place, the body is not going to be allowed to fall backwards. The brain and nervous system simply wouldn’t allow it.
The people with the worst leaning backwards posture and the least core tone in their musculature are going to end up with stooped posture simply to keep the skeleton aloft in some way.
What do you think?