GOOD VS BAD POSTURE
Growing up, most of us may have heard these phrases- “Stand up straight,” “Sit up straight,” and “Don’t slouch!” As simple as they sound they are habit forming behaviours that can greatly impact on our health as well as help us look taller, slimmer, and more confident. The role of posture and health in keeping proper alignment of your spine, head, and hip is an important area of discussion, that can salvage many from a lifetime of Pain associated with the Musculoskeletal system of the body.
Posture is the position of your body when you’re standing or sitting. It describes how your spine is aligned with your head, shoulders, and hips.Posture also includes the position of your body when you’re moving or when you carry out certain physical activities. For example:
- What’s your body’s position when you walk?
- How do you hold your shoulders and swing your arms?
- How are your hips moving? Do you lean forward or backward?
- How does your foot strike the ground and push off again?
- When you sit on the couch or at your work desk, what’s your usual pose? Do you cross your legs? Sit on one leg? Slouch? Crane your neck forward to read the computer screen or better see the TV?
- How do you squat or bend over to pick up something off the ground?
- Is your body symmetrical, meaning, is your alignment and are your abilities the same on both sides of your body — or are you experiencing limitations?
IS THERE A THING AS BAD POSTURE?
Yes! And this implies there’s a ‘right’ posture too. Bad posture, or poor posture, is a body position that is asymmetrical or non-neutral. For example, if you have an excessively large curve in the lower back (a “swayback,” or lordosis), that is considered poor posture. The effects of bad posture includes but is not limited to :
One of the most commonly known side effects of poor posture is unwanted strain on your upper and lower back. Slouching forward puts pressure between your shoulder blades and causes you to flatten your back muscles. If you notice pain below the neck and around your tailbone after a long day at work, you are likely not sitting up straight.
Neck Pain & Headaches
Poor posture puts pressure on your posterior muscles, which has a negative impact on your neck. Whether your shoulders are hunched forward or your head is aimed downward, the strain put on your neck by the tightness of these muscles can lead to tension headaches.
Deficient posture can put your entire system of muscles in a compromising position. If you are unable to fully relax your body at night, you may find yourself tossing and turning to find a comfortable position for your neck and back, which can lead to hours of lost sleep.
If you have an office job that requires you to stay at a desk most of the day, sitting with bad posture can lead to digestive issues. Neglecting to pay attention to your posture can compress your organs, which can slow the digestive process and cause stomach issues.
Lack of Motivation
When you do not sit up straight or stand with your shoulders back, it can also have a negative impact on work ethic. Your focus will be on feeling uncomfortable, rather than the task at hand. Bad posture is also correlated to low self-esteem, per Health Psychology.
What is good and bad posture when sitting?
- Keep the chin tucked in.
- Keep the shoulders relaxed, down and back.
- Sit with a curve in your low back as this allows the pelvis to sit directly under the points of your shoulders so you sit on the bony points of your bottom.
- Sit with your hips, knees and ankles at right angles, thighs level with knees.
- Keep the head in midline, on top of and in line with the shoulders.
- Sit with your weight equal on both sides/cheeks of your bottom, well back in seat and feet flat on floor.
- Poke or jut chin forward.
- Hunch shoulders.
- Sit with your spine in a ‘C’ shape (this puts your back under strain).
- Sit with your knees higher than your hips (spine becomes ‘C’ shaped, knees can easily fall to one side leading to a twisted pelvis). Sit with your knees lower than your hips (bottom slips forward on the seat and knees knock together).
- Hold your head forward of the shoulders or to one side.
- Sit with your weight on one side of your bottom (eg cross your legs) as it puts strain on your back.
None of us can maintain this correct upright posture unsupported for long periods of time, so it is important that the furniture you are sitting on supports your spinal curves, be that at your desk, in your car or on the sofa at home. As you are reading this, sit well back in the seat, feet flat on the floor.
REFERENCES: Health Line Journal, Medlineplus.gov, Better Health Channel