Why do we instinctively know when a person has good posture? Simply because our basic instincts are to admire health, as it reflects good genetics for survival of the species! Since good posture reflects good health, we are naturally attracted to it.
How can we recognize our own postural problems and if we find them, what can we do to get it?
Try looking in the mirror, or asking a good friend to help you out. Relax and have a good look from head to toes. Starting from the head down, look for the head poked forward or leaning to one side, the shoulders drooping forward or too far back. Look whether one shoulder is higher than the other. From the side, tummy sticking out, or bottom sticking out. You may find you have your knees touching, or flat feet, or that one hip is higher than the other. Any extremes of posture can be improved by the correct exercise program, chiropractic treatment and lifestyle changes.
There are basically three positions, in which to consider improving your posture: – lying, sitting and standing and walking.
- Lying – Fist things first – Your bed must be correct. Too soft, or too hard can cause poor sleeping posture and result in waking with pain. Sleeping on your tummy can also cause serious problems to both your neck and lower back. A good, well supporting pillow of the correct size for you is also essential. Our bodies heal during sleep, so if your rest is poor, your body will be slow to heal, giving rise to chronic pain syndromes.
- Sitting. Both at home, at school or in work and in your car, all your seating should be appropriate and comfortable. Lumbar support is essential when seated for long periods, and rest breaks should be regularly taken to avoid sustained postural positions. Short exercise breaks are very useful if you do not want to be getting up like an old hag!
- Standing or walking. – Practice standing with your back to the wall and you should notice whether your shoulders and head touch the wall.
Head retraction exercises can help with the poked head posture. Shoulder and upper back strengthening will help to correct rounded shoulders. If your spinal joints are working poorly or fixed, it will be extremely difficult to get good changes with exercise alone.
Various wedges can help with seated posture problems. A new, well-designed, adjustable chair is the best option. Orthotics can help with foot problems, but spinal manipulation would be a great help at the outset when trying to improve posture.
Correct posture when lifting weights is very important to prevent injury. Never lift a weight, which is too heavy for your strength, and always bend your knees and keep the object as close to your body as possible.
If you would like help and advice about your posture, and you do not have a chiropractor, I would love to help you.