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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

HEALTH ANSWERS

How can I keep from getting bad posture?

Q. How can I keep from getting bad posture as I age?

A. Some people develop a pronounced curve in their upper spine as they age, a condition sometimes known colloquially as “dowager’s hump’’ but clinically as hyperkyphosis. The condition, which affects men as well as women and usually progresses with age, is not just a cosmetic problem. It’s associated with a greater risk of falls, a decline in movement and daily functions, depression, and even a higher risk of death. Lisa Samelson, a scientist at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research, says that hyperkyphosis can make it harder to breathe if lungs get compressed, and can interfere with social interactions and simple activities like reaching for an object on a shelf.

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