Posture is something we always hear about and how essential it is for good health. We are familiar and are able to distinguish between poor postures when we see it. Poor posture does not happen overnight nor are we born with poor posture it is formed as a result of bad habits carried out over years. Only a few well educated and healthy people really grasp the importance of such a trivial daily activity.
Ok, so what is this posture?
It is a position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down. Great posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. Without posture and the muscles that control it, we would simply fall to the ground.
Normally, posture is maintained through our subconscious, as our brain contracts muscles and we don’t even have to think about it. Numerous muscle groups, including the hamstrings and large back muscles, are crucially important in ensuring we have great posture. While the ligaments help to hold the skeleton together, these postural muscles, when functioning properly, prevent the forces of gravity from pushing us over. Postural muscles also maintain our posture and balance during movement.
Is it really that important to have good posture?
Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in correct anatomical positions that places the least strain on supporting muscles, bones, joints and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities. So individuals who carry themselves with good posture will tend to suffer less with generalized aches and pains due to the fact the forces are dispersed correctly through human body.
To maintain proper posture, you need to have adequate muscle flexibility and strength, normal joint motion in the spine and other body regions, as well as efficient postural muscles that are balanced on both sides of the spine. In addition, you must recognize your postural habits at home and in the workplace and work to correct them, if necessary.
Surely I will be fine if my posture is just OK?
The answer is NO, a number of things contribute to bad posture-most commonly, stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles, high-heeled shoes; tight clothing; poor eye-sight and limited health and wellness knowledge. In addition, decreased flexibility, a poorly designed ergonomic work station, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits can also contribute to poor body positioning. So do everything in your power now to fix atleast one of these habitual flaws, and keep adding one every 2 weeks, HOMEWORK!!
How do I sit properly?
- Feet must reach the floor and must refrain from crossing legs.
- Your feet must be slightly in front of your knees.
- Maintain a small space between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
- One’s knees should be in-line with your hips or slightly below.
- Lumbar support cushions are crucially important or if your chair is specially designed for this purpose to aid your low back and support your Lumbar Lordosis.
- Keep the tension out of your shoulders along with ensuring your forearms are parallel to the ground.
- Take regular breaks from sitting, 4x body weight goes through your disc’s when sitting (food for thought).
How do I stand properly?
- Ensure your weight is primarily dispersed through the balls of your feet.
- Avoid you’re your knee’s being locked, keep them slightly bent.
- Ensure your feet are about shoulder-width apart.
- Let your arms hang down naturally by your side.
- Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled downwards and backwards.
- Engage your core (pull your stomach in).
- Keep your ears in-line with the middle of your shoulders
What is the proper lying position?
- Make sure your mattress is right for you. While a firm mattress is generally recommended, some people find that softer mattresses reduce their back pain. Your comfort is important.
- Always sleep with a pillow and this pillow plays a crucial role in filling the gap between the shoulders and the neck to keep perfect anatomical alignment.
- DO NOT sleep on your stomach.
- If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs.
- If you sleep on your back, keep a pillow under your knees.
Can I correct my poor posture?
Of course you can but please take into consideration, that long-standing postural problems will typically take longer to address than short-lived ones, as often the joints and muscles have adapted to your long-standing incorrect posture. Being aware of your own posture and knowing what the correct posture should look like, this will subconsciously help you develop great posture. Everything is about practice and persistence, implement the above tips and tools I have given above and you are already taking the correct steps to Excel your Health.
For anything you are unsure of, contact CostaSpine and our D.C will do his best to assist you and educate you on how to attain great posture.
Yours in Healthcare