by Nora Wallace Walsh
I am sure you’ve heard your mother tell you to “have good posture.” To “Stand up straight!” or “Stop slouching!” a time or two. Well she was right. Good posture is important because it helps your body function without pain.
Eight out of ten adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back problems generally come from poor posture and body mechanics, chronic strain, stress and tension, weakened muscles, and lack of exercise.
Most people spend the majority of their day sitting at a desk, talking on the phone, hunched over a computer, sitting in their car driving and slouched on the couch relaxing.
This amount of sitting shortens and tightens muscles that will lead to lower back and neck pain. If you have poor posture your bones are not properly aligned and your muscles, joints, and ligaments take more strain then they should.
One way to check for good posture is to imagine that you can draw a straight line through your ears, shoulders and hips. You should be able to keep your shoulders back and down, chest lifted, and neck lengthened.
If you have trouble doing this – your body isn’t aligned. Through exercise and posture training, you can return your back to its neutral position of comfort.
Fixing posture problems doesn’t happen over night. It takes practice to be constantly aware of your body and making adjustments to your posture.
Reminders: What “Good Posture” Looks Like On You – And How To Maintain It:
1. Every time you pass a mirror do a posture check.
2. Think about drawing your belly button in towards your spine every time you’re driving and come to either a stop sign or a traffic light.
3. Place post-it notes at work and at home to remind you to draw in your stomach.
4. When standing, roll very slightly from your heels to your toes. This will remind your body to stay upright – in the good posture it wants to be in – and it will prevent you from placing all of your weight on your toes.
5. Pretend that there’s a string coming straight up out of your chest towards the ceiling, and this will help you to keep your chest up.
6. Set an alarm at your desk to remind you every ½ hour to walk around the office or do a few stretches.
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