Growing up your parents and teachers always told you to stand up straight. Generally, puberty is the time where your posture is most affected. Growth spurts combined with heavy backpacks and small desks can have a negative effect on your posture that can last a life time. And this doesn’t just go for your children; sitting at a desk all day at work can also cause bad posture. Bad posture seems like a small issue but, it can actually lead to worse problems including chronic back pain.
On the contrary, there are many health benefits of having good posture. One major benefit of good posture is that is facilitates better breathing. This explains why yoga and pilates focus so much on form and posture during moves, it is important in order to promote good air flow. Try breathing while you’re slouching, and then sit or stand up straight and notice how much easier air flow is.
Good posture can prevent you from a life full of ailments and pains. If you are consciously aware of your posture while standing AND sitting, then you are less likely to develop back problems later in life. Sitting down, your posture should be a straight back, butt against the chair back, and feet on the floor flat in front of your body. This position will put the least amount of stress on your back and provide the most comfort for your spine! The placement of your computer, desk and chair are also important. Your chair should be adjusted so that your feet are flat on the ground in a 90 degree angle. Your desk and keyboard should be adjusted so that your elbows are also at a 90 degree angle. These adjustments will assure your body is not being bent or twisted in the wrong directions.
While standing the best posture is to act as if there is a string running from your earlobe, shoulder, hip, knee and the middle of your ankle. When viewed from the side, your ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and foot should all be in line with each other, forming the plumb line of the body. The spine should have three normal curves: cervical (forward curve), thoracic (backward curve), and lumbar (forward curve). With proper alignment and spinal curvature, the forces absorbed by the spine can travel evenly throughout the vertebrae and disc.
When viewed from the front, the head should be straight and not tilted or rotated. The shoulders should be level with one another and in a down and back position. The feet should be hip width apart with toes slightly pointed outward. Weight should be evenly distributed with knees slightly bent. Tightening the abdominals will provide some stability while standing.
Like standing, all three of the normal curves in the spine should be present. The curvatures in the spine determines the effect of the load that is transmitted throughout the rest of the body. Feet should be wide apart and flat on the floor. Knees should be level with hip. Shoulders should be relaxed and in line with ears. Sitting actively is the best way to protect the back. A good recommendation is sitting on a physioball. Often times, a backrest forces us to relax and over time slouch. As a result, we end up relying on our passive structures such as ligaments and joint capsules instead of our muscles.
Although good posture should be natural it may be uncomfortable at first. This is because our bodies have adapted to our poor posture for so long. The key is to be aware of what proper posture is and to practice it. Good posture puts the load as close to the center of the body as possible, making sitting and standing efficient. Incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises along with body awareness are important steps towards physical well-being.
Hold yourself accountable throughout the day and check your posture while you are sitting and standing in order to assure that you’re in the best position for your body. While at work, set a timer or event on your calendar every hour in order to make a habit of adjusting your posture. While standing in line at the store or elsewhere, make sure that your feet are planted on the ground, make a conscious effort to stand up straight while you are waiting.
OSR wants you to have the healthiest back and spine possible! Do you need help improving your posture? Give us a call at 488-5555 for your free consultation so we can help you!