Susan Gardiner BSc., MPT
Correct sitting, standing, and sleeping posture is an incredibly important element for exceptional health. Every aspect of movement and body function is improved drastically by starting with a good base. Read on for why you should care about your posture and things you can do to improve it.
Why should you care about your posture?
Poor posture can have a major impact on your long-term health in both well known and surprising ways!Over time poor posture can lead to lower back, shoulder and neck pain, sore knees, muscle imbalances, and an increased risk of injury.
Proper posture ensures good circulation and respiration while decreasing stress on joints, ligament wear, and muscle fatigue. Correct posture is equally as important during sporting activities. Using poor technique while exercising can hamper muscle performance and efficiency. The bottom line: our bodies perform best and move most efficiently when aligned properly!
Where does poor posture come from?
Poor posture generally comes from adopting bad habits in everyday activities such as: sleeping with inappropriate pillows, sitting in office chairs with inadequate support, working on a laptop computer, or standing for extended periods of time. Over time our bodies adjust to these postures and it becomes hard for our body to tell what normal alignment is!
What can I do about it?
The good news is that with some relatively easy changes poor posture can be improved! Firstly, come in to the clinic and have a postural assessment done. The practitioner at Movéo will analyze your posture in sitting, standing, and lying in order to evaluate where your misalignments originate from. Then an individualized strengthening program can be designed to help improve muscles balance and increase body awareness. Joint pain and structural alignment can also be addressed. Your practitioner can give you some suggestions regarding your home and work environment to address other contributing factors.
A few helpful Posture tips
Here are some helpful tips that can help you improve the situation:
- Try to avoid staying in the same position. Muscles fatigue quickly, leading to slouching and the adaptation of awkward positions. Aim to get up from your chair every 20 to 30 minutes to give those muscles and joints a break during the day.
- Wear proper shoes! Shoes are very important when it comes to posture regardless of whether you have a sedentary or a more active job. Supportive shoes with proper soles are a must!
- Customize your work space to suit your body. Take the time to adjust your chair so that the back of your legs are supported, the natural curvature of your lower back is supported and your feet rest comfortably on the floor. Adjust the arm rests to ensure that your shoulders are relaxed, your elbows supported at 90 degrees and your wrists are in neutral. Your computer monitor should be roughly one arm length away from your body and make sure the top level of text on your monitor is at eye level.
- Avoid unbalanced positions such as excessive tilting of the head, crossed legs while sitting, leaning to one side while standing and carrying heavy bags on one shoulder. Being over loaded on one side of the body causes muscle fatigue and places stress on the adjacent joints.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach. When sleeping lie on your side place a pillow between your legs for support. If you sleep on your back, choose a pillow that allows your head to remain in line with your spine. Also, remember that pillows flatten out and lose their support over time, don’t be afraid to buy a new one.
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Kisner, C. & Colby, L. (2007) Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations and Techniques. Philadelphia, PA. F.A. Davis Company.
Nordin, M., Pope, M. H., & Andersson, G. (2007) Musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace: principles and practice. pp. 87. Philadelphia, PA. Mosby Elsevier.