Written by Lola Adeshina

Technology has allowed us all to own a smartphone or a form of  hand-held device. These gadgets are mostly viewed by us slumped over. Increasingly, our jobs require us to sit for prolonged hours, often times hunched over our computers, and those that require standing are done while being in a fixed position with little or no frequent movement.

In this article I am going to outline ways to prevent and even undo some of these damages to our posture – with the aim of improving our overall health.

Researchers are recognizing the relation of body health and posture. A good posture assists the healthy function of the nerve system, boosts the energy of individuals, improves mood and confidence, and strengthens the body not only physically but also mentally and emotionally.[1]

bpdy-1

Why should we maintain good posture?

  1. Improves brain function : Good posture and constant motion allows blood flow and enhances blood circulation in the brain.
  1. Feel confident : An upright posture improves the perception others have of us. A study conducted at Ohio State University has proven that good posture is a reinforcement of confidence. People are more willing to pay attention to individuals who appear confident through gestures, sitting and standing upright, and maintaining eye contact.
  1. Reduced back and neck pain: Fact. Sitting or standing in one position for prolonged periods affects our posture overtime. It is advisable to move the body frequently. If you are required to sit for a long period of time, you can utilize moving around in your chair often.
  1. Reduces stress and enhances productivity: In an upright position, we are more alert and concentrate on task at hand. Whereas, slouching decreases our oxygen intake and reduces blood flow through the cardiovascular system. Decreased oxygen and reduced blood flow leads to improper functioning of the nervous system, organs, and tissues.
  1. Lose Weight : An upright posture and constant movement can actually take tension off the whole body. Once the muscles feel relaxed, it allows for better flow of bodily fluids in the nervous system.

[2]

In this TED video – where Murat Dalkilinç talks about the benefits of good posture, we learn that good posture is linked to adaptations of environment, movements and stressors of daily activities. On the other hand, slouching weighs heavily on the body giving the muscles more work in keeping us upright and increases wear and tear of joints.

These are a few reasons why it’s important to move frequently and not stay in a fixed position for a prolonged time in our day to day activities. Studies have proven that sitting all day increases the risk of obesity and heart disease.[3]. It’s advisable to stop in-between your daily routines to do a mini 5 minute stretch so your muscles doesn’t tight up. 

Myths and truths of good posture

  1. Good posture means sitting or standing “straight”: Good posture does not always mean sitting or standing in a straight, fixed, and uncomfortable position. Good posture supports range of motion, and fluid movement of the body.
  1. Crossing your legs when sitting is an ideal body posture : Crossing your legs can stop the flow of bodily fluids in the lower back, and increase pressure on the nerves due the body’s locked position – All of which can lead to lower back pain. This doesn’t mean you should stop crossing your legs, but don’t keep them crossed for prolonged periods.[4]
  1. Scoliosis is caused by bad posture: False! No study has linked scoliosis to bad posture. Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine in a “C” or “S” shape. From my personal experience with working with scoliosis patients at a chiropractor clinic, the curvature of the spinal vertebrae can be corrected back to normal. Visit your chiropractor to learn more about this.
  1. Bed wetting is caused by “deep sleep”: This is not something that always happen because the individual is unable to control his or her self or doesn’t wake up to go to the bathroom. One of the causes of bed wetting is poor curvature of vertebras in the lower back, spinal disorders or untreated spinal cord injuries. Never blame an individual in this predicament but advice them to see a chiropractor. Knowledge is key! [5]
  1. Nothing can be done to correct bad posture : This is not true. It can be done with the right care and commitment, including exercises tailored to reduce the effects of slouching and seeking treatment with a specialist. 

 

Signs of a bad posture and corrective exercises:

Anterior Pelvic Tilt

body-2

Solution

Stretch + Exercise (Hold each pose for 15-30seconds. Repeat 2 to 3 sets daily)

 

body-2-sol

 

body-2-sol-2

 

Forward Head Position

body-3

 

Solution

Stretch + Exercise (Hold each pose for 15-30seconds. Repeat 2 to 3 sets daily)

body-3-sol

 

 

Hunchback

 

body-4

 

Solution

Stretch + Exercise (Hold each pose for 15-30seconds. Repeat 2 to 3 sets daily)

body-4-sol

 

body-4-sol-2

 

Rounded Shoulder

body-5

 

Solution

Stretch + Exercise (Hold each pose for 15-30seconds. Repeat 2 to 3 sets daily)

 

 

body-5-sol

 

body-5-sol-2

 

Tips to correct posture:

  • Stretch as often as possible, especially first thing in the morning.
  • Perform core-strengthening exercises because these are the muscles that enhance good posture.
  • Stand on your whole foot and not the heel or front of your foot. Standing on half of the feet increases the tension on ankles, knees, hips and lower back.
  • Be ergonomically sound with your technology devices. Have the screen or monitors of the devices in front of you, at or slightly below eye level (your eyes should be in its resting eye position). At home or in the office, use chairs that support the curvature of the spine (ergonomic chairs). In place of ergonomic chairs, individuals can place a rolled up foam, small pillow or towel as a portable lumbar back support.
  • Exercise the Upper body

 So steer clear of bad posture. Get up, move about, and flex those muscles.  A good posture is very attainable when you put in the work, and stay intentional about it. 


References

[1] Nair, S, M Sagar, J Sollers III, N Consedine, and E Broadbent. “Do Slumped and Upright Postures Affect Stress Responses? A Randomized Trial.”. Health Psychology 34, no. 6 (2015): 632-41.

[2] Schubbe, J. “Good Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain.” http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/good-posture-helps-reduce-back-pain.

[3] Owen, N, G. N Healy, C. E Matthews, and D. W Dunstan. “Too Much Sitting: The Population-Health Science of Sedentary Behavior.” Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews 38, no. 3 (2010): 105-13.

[4] Bushak, L. “No, Sitting with Your Legs Crossed Won’t Harm You, but Here’s How Seated Posture Is Affecting Your Health.” http://www.medicaldaily.com/no-sitting-your-legs-crossed-wont-harm-you-heres-how-seated-posture-affecting-your-357926.

[5] Therapy, The Vision. “The Secret That No One Likes to Talk About … Bedwetting.” http://visiontherapyblog.com/the-secret-that-no-one-likes-to-talk-about-bedwetting/.

Photos from Google images

Advertisements