As a 5’ 8” teenager I was constantly being told by my parents and grandparents to “stand up straight”, “don’t slump” and “stop hunching your shoulders”. At the time I found it annoying and deemed it as “nagging”.
Now, as a more mature adult I sometimes observe teens, especially girls, at a theatre or walking down the street and I have to resist saying to them, “Stand up straight” and “Don’t slump!” “You’d be so pretty if you didn’t carry yourself that way.”
And the echo of a parent’s voice critiquing your posture?
If I see my reflection and notice my slumped posture, I immediately stand up tall and pull in that tummy! Oh, how that looks so much better. And then I wonder, “do I go around looking like that all the time?”
Yes, now sometimes when passing by that mirror I could almost swear that I see the time lapsed print of that osteo-arthritic woman on the poster in the doctor’s office. You know the one. Her hunched posture gradually worsens over time until she can only see her own feet when she walks.
Does bad posture contribute to an aged appearance? Does that lady on the poster look young to you?
Somehow a person does lose an edge off their otherwise attractive appearance when they hunch as they walk, or saunter with a heavy, clumping stride that leaves observers with the impression their shoes weigh 100 pounds a piece.
Wise younger ones will take heed. (Those of you who think I am nagging probably think you will be young and attractive forever anyway, right? I did.)
Oh, and did your relatives also constantly tell you how you were going to regret that you spent so much time tanning and burning your “hide” on the beach in summer?
“You just wait; you are going to look like leather when you get older…you are going to regret it”. There we go again, nag, nag, nag.
Since I was fair skinned, I actually did not spend a lot of my years trying to make white turn brown and now I am so glad that I didn’t. While my girlfriends baked, I had to find shade or else suffer in immense sunburn pain by sunset if I did not seek shelter for my fair integument.
And now? In our fifties my girlfriends and I sometimes compare notes and are struck at how those of us who spent those hours baking in the sun to be fashionably brown appear to be 10-20 years older than those of us who did not.
Did you know that for women, sleeping on your side creates the long lines of chest wrinkles that older women have just under that diamond necklace? The more endowed you are in the chest area the longer and deeper the “old lady” chest lines will become.
Now can you figure out what you can do at home that does not cost a dime to reduce the appearance of those lines?
You guessed it, sleeping on your back. Not only will it help reduce (and if you haven’t been doing it too long, completely eliminate) the wrinkles of side hanging “boobalege” it will also reduce facial wrinkles. (Bonus!)
Don’t believe me? Ok, ask and answer this question for yourself: which side of your body are you in the habit of sleeping on the most? Is it your left side? Look in the mirror and compare the wrinkles, lines and crows feet on the left side as compared to the right side of your face. Now look at your eyebrows. Are they asymmetrical with the left one lower or higher than the brow on the other side? Is your left cheek bone slightly lower than your right, with a barely perceptible downward asymmetry? (Or if you sleep on right side then flip the scenario to your sleeping habits.)
Retraining oneself to learn to sleep on your back all night may be a challenge but the difference you will see in your skin is well worth the effort. To assist with back sleeping, place a pillow under your knees and pillows by your sides to remind you until back sleeping becomes habit for you.
It is never too late to learn to develop good, anti-aging habits. The things we discuss in this article are free and will produce a real, anti-aging improvement in your appearance.
Try it. You will thank me later!
Jeannie Higginbotham, RN, BSN, CNOR