As a consequence of the sedentary lifestyle of most modern people, back pains and problems associated with bad posture are becoming more and more often. Bad posture can affect your health in many ways, both physical and mental. Posture determines the relative position of the spinal column and extremities, and influences the pressure the muscles and nerves around the spine feel. Good posture assures not only physical health, but also influences your mood and how others perceive you.
Most people in today's world have sedentary jobs. Sitting the whole day and a lack of activity leads to certain physical changes in the body, which can lead to several complications, some of which can be very serious. Posture is defined as the position in which your spine and extremities are aligned. Posture determines how the vertebrae - the constituents of your spine - position themselves and the pressure suffered by segments of the spine as well as the surrounding tissue and organs. Bad posture can cause a whole list of problems, starting with back and neck pains, including more severe disorders such as loss of limb function and numbness. Posture also affects mood, as current research suggests (Oosterwijk, 2009). Posture, by some theories, is the physical embodiment of moods and emotion. The way you position your body affects both how others perceive you as well as what emotion you are influencing in yourself. Sitting, walking and standing in incorrect positions takes a toll at both your physical health and mental well being. Getting a correct posture is thus important. Forcing your body to change is posture is not easy. It literally requires you to retrain your muscles completely to make them have new default positions. But with a little conscious effort and training, in time you will learn your body to retain the normal and healthy position, leading to numerous health benefits.
WHAT IS GOOD POSTURE?
Good posture is defined by several benefits it confines when taken. Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly. Good posture: helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis, decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together, prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions, it prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy and also prevents strain or overuse problems, backache and muscular pain and finally contributes to a good appearance.
The relative position of the three natural curves on your spine and our limbs is the most important factor to consider when talking about posture. The neck and head, tilted downward or bowed, a slight hump on the back, abdomen on the front and curved legs are the most often signs that your posture is not good.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO GOOD POSTURE IN SEVERAL OCCASIONS
Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair. All three normal back curves should be present while sitting. To make sure you have a good lumbal position that assures that all three curves are present in the spine, sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely then draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible and hold for a few seconds. Then release the position slightly (about 10 degrees). Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips and legs. You also have to make sure your knees are bent at a right angle. Keep your knees even with or slightly higher than your hips. You should not cross your legs. And finally, try to keep your feet flat at the floor. Considering most people with sedentary jobs have problems with their backs, following this simple instructions can help them attain a better posture and relieve some of the stress on their backs.
As for standing, the tips are similar; keep your shoulders back and relaxed, but try to maintain them in an even line, pull in your abdomen, keep your feet about hip distance apart, balance your weight evenly on both hips and feet, let your hands hang naturally at your sides and try not to tilt your head forward, backward or sideways, and make sure your knees are relaxed and not fixed in an inward or outward position. As for sleeping, lie flat on your back, with a low pillow under your head and neck. The pillow also matters, it should keep your neck straight while you sleep. If you sleep on your side, keep your ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle along a straight line as well. Place a small pillow between your knees and try to avoid twisting your spine and pelvis.
Oosterwijk, Suzanne; Rotteveel, Mark, Fischer, Agneta H., Hess, Ursula (2009). "Embodied emotion concepts: how generating words about pride and disappointment influences posture". European Journal of Social Psychology 39