Tired of persistent back pain? Or have you noticed that you slouch ever so often? Your mother’s constant reprimands to stand straight and not slouch are actually the best advice for good posture. Most of our time now is spent hunched over a screen. And our walking is becoming slightly more stooped day by day. One of the distinguishing features of humans is the ability to stand upright or erect and ironically, all this sedentary lifestyle is making us slouch!
Remember that good posture does not mean that it will require a lot of effort and feel stiff rigid. On the contrary, it should feel effortless and easy. If your good posture makes you feel
What is the fuss about good posture anyway?
So your posture has a direct impact on your spinal cord which is basically a bundle of nerves protected by your spinal bones. When you have good posture, your spine will be strong and flexible. Slouching and stopping is definitely not good posture.
When you sit in that oh so comfortable slouch with your laptop balanced on your thighs and your phone in your hand, the muscles, and ligaments that support the spinal cord need to work extra hard to maintain your body balance. And that can not only lead to a backache but also headaches and shoulder troubles. Good posture comes with its own set of benefits. Walking tall will not only improve your appearance but also your breathing while at the same time boosting your memory and concentration.
A healthy spine has the following three curves naturally:
- Cervical curve: Inward or forward curvature in neck region
- Thoracic curve: Outward or backward curvature in the upper back below neck
- Lumbar curve: Inward curvature of lower back
Maintaining good posture essentially helps in maintaining these three curves while bad posture destroys them by pulling on your muscles and causing stress and tension to accumulate.
What posture is good posture?
So now that we have establishes the spine’s natural curves, we need to understand how can we have a posture that keeps these curves in the right position. Having good sitting and standing posture improves your body’s natural alignment which is essential for proper functioning of your body’s organ systems. Healthy posture is such that the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments while walking, sitting, or lying.
Good posture while standing
To achieve the right posture while standing, the ears, shoulders, hips, and knees should align in one straight line. Swaying back while standing or rounding your shoulders all constitute poor posture.
- Your head should be level and in line with the rest of your body.
- Weight should feel evenly distributed on both the feet.
- Stand straight with your shoulders back but don’t draw in your shoulder blades, it could lead to tenseness in your back.
Remember- a chair isn’t meant to support your weight, your skeleton is. Sitting provides the perfect mélange of slumping, slouched shoulders, and hunching forward to get a better look at the screen. It is actually harder to keep good posture while sitting than while standing.
- Take breaks every 30-45 minutes so that you sit less and move more.
- While sitting keep your ears and shoulders lined up and don’t slump back or slouch forward.
- Keep your feet flat on the ground with hips and knees at 90 degrees to it.
How to maintain a healthy spine
In order to undo the damage done to your back, you can try the following remedies.
Stand against a wall
If maintaining a proper posture throughout the day feels taxing, then you can try the following wall exercise to ease your transition to a good posture. Stand against your head, shoulders, and back placed against a wall. Keep the heels of your feet 4-5 inches away from the wall. Decrease the arch formed in your lower back by pulling in your muscles in your lower back. This is what correct posture feels like. Now try maintaining the same pose without using the wall for support.
Lie down flat
Lie down on the floor or any flat surface (not your bed, your mattress won’t help this exercise). Now place your legs on top of the bed or chair, keeping your knees perpendicular to the ground. This will help line up your shoulders and hips.
So all it takes for good posture is a little attention and dedication! So say goodbye to all your back woes!