Throughout my childhood and most of my earlier adulthood, I had bad posture. Maybe the bad posture came from growing up in a poor neighborhood. Maybe it was a flashback from my ancestors who toiled under the hot sun in a rice paddy in China. I think I was probably just too lazy to practice good posture.
As soon as I sit down, my knees and hip slipped forward, my back concaved, and my shoulder blades rested on the backrest of the chair or sofa. Sometimes a leg would be flung over an armrest. But whatever the position, now I would cringe to see myself compressing and contorting my body that way. Gosh, I am getting old.
How is bad posture related to your health?
Our posture is a sign of the overall structural health of our bodies. The way we stand and sit, especially with bad posture, physically changes the alignments and relationships of our muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and bones.
A concaved back changes the dimensions of our chest and how effectively and deeply we breathe. Bad posture also cuts off our blood flow when we slouch. It messes up our digestion and bowel habit when we contort our bodies.
And the worst offender of all is the tension headaches and back pain that result from bad posture. Our heads are very heavy. When our bodies are not properly aligned to support our big noggin, bad posture places a lot of strain on our necks. And our necks have many blood vessels and spinal nerves that can become pinched, resulting in tension headaches, stiffness, and sometimes back pain.
What the signs of poor posture?
Are you desk bound and in front of the computer most of the time? As in right now, reading my post?
Since most of us spend much of our days sitting in front of a computer screen, it is easy for us to develop kyphosis (curvature of the thoracic spine). Instead of looking like this:
We usually end up looking like this:
With our heads held in front of our bodies, rounded back, and hunched shoulders.
Are you aware of your posture? The next time you stand in front of a mirror, look at the way you hold your body. Do you have good posture?
How do you correct bad posture?
You probably know the answer to this one. Exercise can correct most health problems. And bad posture is one of those problems that can easily be corrected with exercise and an conscious effort to stand with our stomachs tucked in and butts tucked in, shoulders relaxed, and an imaginary string attached to our heads (think puppet).
The Alexander Technique is naturophatic therapy that helps correct bad posture practiced since childhood. Google it and see if there is someone in your area qualified to give this specialized posture correction technique.
Strengthen the core, chest, and back muscles help. Strengthening the core muscles help with keeping our stomachs tucked under. And strengthening the back and back muscles will keep our chest from concaving forward.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
Photo by: khrawlings.
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