Stand up straight! Yes, you have probably heard this before. But why? Sure, standing up straight makes all of us look better, but it is also better for us. Good posture will help your body function more effectively and reduces muscle and joint pain.
Imagine your skeleton as a framework or scaffolding in which your organs and circulatory system function and on which your muscular system hangs, just as an example. Now imagine that your skeleton framework is slumped and imagine the stress placed on every part of your body. In many ways, this is what happens when we don’t maintain good posture. When you have poor posture, muscles are strained and joints may experience additional pressure. You can experience headaches, backache, shoulder and jaw pain, fatigue, increased arthritic discomfort, and weaker abdominal muscles.
But here’s the good news. Good posture can give you more energy, improve your mood, and make you feel better! But what is good posture? Good posture is often referred to as spine neutral, meaning that the natural curve of the spine is maintained, shoulders back and relaxed, weight evenly distributed, head and neck straight but not stiff with ears over the collarbones. A lot to think about? With a little practice, good posture should feel relaxed and comfortable. To work on improving posture, start in a sitting position in a chair that has a firm back. Place both feet on the ground and move back in the chair until your lower back is in contact with the chair back. Sit up straight, but avoid a stiff posture. Relax slightly into the chair, letting your shoulders fall slightly back, sometimes referred to as “in your back pocket.” Check for tension in your face, shoulders, back, or legs and breathe out to release the tension.
Once you have established good sitting posture, work on good standing posture — weight balanced, hips and legs straight but not locked, back straight but with the natural curve, shoulders back and relaxed, and neck and head in a straight neutral position. Be aware of your posture when walking, standing talking with someone, or sitting working or watching television. Gently checking and correcting your posture is something that almost anyone can do, and it can make you feel better and look better. Give it a try!
Source: Complete Wellness Solutions. Completely Well Newsletter, August 2021