What is good posture and what can you do about it?

Posture
Standing Posture

Imagine a long string hanging from the ceiling- if you are standing next to the string, the string should: 

  • Pass through the ear
  • Just in front of the shoulder
  • Just behind the hip bone (widest part of your hips)
  • Just in front of your ankle joint 

When sitting:

  • Shoulders should be relaxed
  • Hips should be at a 90 degree angle or knees slightly below the hips
  • Low back should be supported
  • Feet should be flat on the floor or resting on a stool

If working at a computer:

  • The top of the monitor should be at eye level
  • Elbows should be relaxed on arm rests in a 90 degree angle
Sitting Posture

Common disorders caused by poor posture:

  • Impingement syndrome (shoulder pain)
    • Shoulders that are rounded forwards as a result of slouching can cause an abnormal position of the shoulder joint, which can pinch on muscles and cause irritation with overhead movement. 
  • Back and neck pain
    • Poor posture can change the natural curvatures in your neck and back, creating stiffness and muscle soreness.
  • Jaw pain
    • Forward head posture can create strain on the muscle of the neck and jaw.
  • Headaches
    • Strain on the head and neck muscles can cause tension headaches.
  • Breathing problems and chest pain
    • A slouched, rounded posture creates tightness in the chest muscles, making it difficult to expand the ribcage and lungs completely.

What can you do to correct poor posture?

  • Be aware
    • When sitting or standing, pretend there is a string attached to your breastbone that someone is pulling straight up towards the sky. Then with your chest up, draw your shoulders back and down. 
  • Change positions 
    • Especially important if you have a desk job. Try setting a reminder on your phone every hour to stand up and stretch or walk around. This doesn’t have to be long, just a minute break will do! 
  • Exercise
    • Perform exercises that work your back and abdominal muscles, such as: seated rows, lat pulldowns, face pulls, bird dogs and planks. (Ask a personal trainer at your gym to show you these exercises if you are unsure how to do them). 
  • Stretch
    • Add a few stretches and back mobility exercises to your morning routine, like cat-camel, wall angels, child’s pose and a pectoral stretch. (Again, ask a personal trainer at your gym to show you these exercises if you are unsure how to do them).

References: 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/posture-align-yourself-for-good-health/art-20269950

https://medlineplus.gov/guidetogoodposture.html

https://sielearning.tafensw.edu.au

https://www.alamy.com

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