Have you ever seen a soldier walk with his shoulders rolled forward? A man/woman of repute slouching over their desk? Or imagine the next person talking to you, resting their weight on one leg and their necks upturned rather than standing upright. Yes, posture is one of the most basic body language signs you’re emitting and you’re judged by it all through the day. But more than just positive body language, your posture is highly important for your health and well-being as well with doctors diagnosing most cases of back pain, neck pain and other muscular ailments originating as a result of bad posture.
With the world moving towards a technological ecosystem and we as a species going against nature and turning to a highly sedentary lifestyle, the way we stand, sit and even sleep plays a big role in the makeup of our body and conditions that afflict it. Your daily commonplace habits such as sitting in your desk, holding the phone to your ear, watching television, driving, carrying a purse, etc. all develop into habits of poor posture which pose long term health risks to your body.
In fact, poor posture can become second nature where you’re not even aware of it and in turn they can bring about or aggravate existing back and neck conditions and cause permanent damage to the spinal column and ligaments surrounding it. However, the good news is that the main causes of poor posture and ergonomics are within our control and can be rectified with a few changes to our lifestyle. So in this article, we’ll take a look at ways to correct one’s posture and maintain it throughout the day.
• Find out the cause of bad posture and pain
Usually there’s always an underlying reason for poor posture that leads to pain. This could be the chair you sit on, the shoes you wear that impede normal movement or the way you carry your purse. So try and identify when you experience pain and if it’s only during certain time but not others. For instance, you could experience pain during office hours which abates during the weekends. If you experience pain suddenly, it could be a result of changed ergonomic positions such as a new desk, new chair, new car’, etc.
Sitting, standing, walking are all movements and you need to be aware of your posture throughout the day. Walking with your shoulders back and neck up is a good posture for example while looking down at your phone constantly is not.
Also be careful when you’re bending down and lifting weights since most people injure themselves during these movements. When you’re bending, twisting or lifting weights, try to use your whole body rather than just the upper body strength which puts a tremendous amount of tension on your lower back.
• Keep your body straight and upright
When you’re sitting, try to keep your body aligned straight and upright; and if you use an office chair, try to take advantage of its features by aligning your ears, neck, spine et al in a vertical line along the chair’s backrest. Try alternating your position from trestin back on the support to sitting at edges with your back straight; this relaxes and eases your back muscles from stiffness. While standing, ensure your weight is evenly distributed between both the feet, front and back. Avoid crossing your legs, slouching or leaning to one side.The CoreChair that is designed specifically to reduce back pain.
• Move around throughout the day
The main reason most people slouch, slump and fall into poor postures is because their muscle are fatigued and start to tire out. This in turn puts extra pressure on your back and neck.
So keep your muscles active and the blood flowing to them by actively moving around and changing your positions. A good habit is to move around and stretch for 2 minutes for every half an hour spent sitting.
Your spine and other muscles were designed for movement. Excessive inactivity or restricted movements would only hinder them rather than protecting.
• Make use of body friendly accessories
Invest in posture friendly accessories like ergonomic chairs with adjustable back supports, foot rests, lumbar supports or even curled up towels on your office chair, car seats and other sedentary position. This will help you save money from frequent trips to the chiropractor later on.
You can also change the level of your desk, computer screens and even buy protective eye gear so as to not strain your neck while working on your desk and PC. If you’re in habit of carrying bags and purses, try to find ones that offer good back and shoulder support.
Avoid high heels which divert the body’s natural centre of gravity and make you put more stress on the vulnerable muscles. If you’re standing for an extended period of time, try to place a foot on foot rest and only buy shoes with adequate cushion and good soles regardless of how enchanting the flat soles look.
• Exercise and strengthen your muscles
A weak back or neck will always lead to pain. They’re not used to being put under stress and do not have the necessary strength to withstand heavy load for long periods of time.
So do not neglect your aerobic conditioning workouts like swimming, walking, running, cardio to keep your body fit and the blood flowing. And to strengthen your muscles, target specific zones like neck, back, levator scapula, etc with corresponding weight training exercises. This will not only strengthen and condition all the surrounding muscles but prevent injuries while keeping your whole body healthy.
There are even exercise programs that are specifically geared towards posture conditioning by working on the back and core muscles. You can try them out to correct and strengthen your posture.
If you can’t find those workout routines or just don’t know which one to follow, just wait for our next article where we shall look at posture conditioning workouts and exercises for your core musclesThe Best Chair . One of the best reviewed office chairs in the market, it guarantees to take away the daily stress on your back and alleviate back pain.