Poor posture can be caused by everyday activities such as sitting incorrectly in office chairs, being hunched over computers or laptops and driving or standing for long periods of time. All this adds up and poor posture becomes second nature; back muscles weaken which leads to reduced support and stability of the lower back causing and/or aggravating back pain.
Luckily, the main factors affecting poor posture are within your control and are not difficult to change. Firstly we need to be aware of what good posture looks like.
Imagine a plumb line running down the side of your body.
Hold your head straight with your chin in.
Stretch the top of your head towards the ceiling.
Ears should be in line with shoulders.
Shoulders back, chest up.
Stomach tucked in but avoid tilting your pelvis forward.
Hips, knees and ankles aligned
Why Good Posture is important.
- It keeps bones and joints aligned so that muscles are being used properly.
- Helps decrease abnormal wearing of the joints and stress on ligaments.
- Prevents fatigue as muscles are being used more efficiently.
- Prevents back ache and muscular pain.
- Contributes to good appearance.
How to improve your posture. Following the guidelines below will help towards improving your posture:-
Get up and move – Muscles tire when sitting in one position all day. As they tire you slouch and slump. Take a break from sitting every ½ hour, get up to stand, stretch or walk.
Keep body aligned while sitting – Consciously think about sitting straight – align ears, shoulders and hips. Sitting in any one position can still be tiring, alternate between leaning forward and sitting back. Avoid crossing your legs as this makes you unbalanced.
Ensure your work station is set up correctly – Use footrests and lumbar back supports to help you sit in the correct position. Ensure your computer is at the right height for you so you are not straining your neck and upper back.
Avoid over correcting posture – We sometimes over exaggerate what good posture should look like and clench our muscles adopting an unnatural and stiff posture. It’s important to maintain an overall relaxed posture.
Exercise helps promote good posture – regular exercise such as walking, swimming or cycling will help the body stay aerobically conditioned, while weight training will help muscles stay strong. Exercise will encourage good posture, which in turn will further help condition muscles and prevent injury.