Don’t slouch! Stand up straight! Keep your shoulders back! Do these commands take you back to a time long ago? Does it remind you of those cranky parochial (now that term should take you back) school teachers, or a drill sergeant or maybe your mom or grandma barking out commands to keep you in line? These reprimands were common place in years past if for no other reason than to not look bad. It is part of proper etiquette. In reality, good posture is so much more important to you than just how it makes you look. It can have a major impact on how we live and feel every day. It is estimated that more than 80% of neck and back problems are the result of tight, achy muscles brought on by years of bad posture. The list doesn’t stop there. Problems with digestion, elimination, blood flow and respiration can also be the result of poor posture. Clearly proper posture is so important and so overlooked.
Why has our posture as a whole gotten so bad? Sometimes it’s the result of accidents or past injuries. More often than that it is the result of a lifetime of bad habits brought on by the way we live in this modern age. Although this list is not exhaustive, some of the common reasons for this increase in poor posture are:
Sitting and working (or playing) on a computer or other electronic device
Talking or texting with our heads tilted
Slouching while eating, watching tv, driving, flying, taking the train etc.
Wearing over weighted backpacks or purses
Muscle tightness or weaknesses
The good news is that you are already on your way to improving your posture just by being a member of our Farmingdale Boot Camp! (That is as long as you are coming) Having a strong core is vital to attaining good posture, and during every session you attend, you are strengthening it. Core training is an integral part of your training here. But it’s going to take more than just a few sessions a week at the gym. According to the American Chiropractic Association, some tips to help maintain good posture are:
How do I sit properly?
• Keep your feet on the floor or on a footrest, if they don’t reach the floor.
• Don’t cross your legs. Your ankles should be in front of your knees.
• Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
• Your knees should be at or below the level of your hips.
• Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your low- and mid-back or use a back support.
• Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground.
• Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time.
How do I stand properly?
• Bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet.
• Keep your knees slightly bent.
• Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
• Let your arms hang naturally down the sides of the body.
• Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled backward.
• Tuck your stomach in.
• Keep your head level-your earlobes should be in line with your shoulders. Do not push your head forward, backward, or to the side.
• Shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or one foot to the other, if you have to stand for a long time.
What is the proper lying position?
• Find the mattress that is right for you. While a firm mattress is generally recommended, some people find that softer mattresses reduce their back pain. Your comfort is important.
• Sleep with a pillow. Special pillows are available to help with postural problems resulting from a poor sleeping position.
• Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
• Sleeping on your side or back is more often helpful for back pain.
• If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs.
• If you sleep on your back, keep a pillow under your knees.
As you can see, good posture is just as important as eating right, exercising regularly and getting a good night’s sleep. With it, your body will work more efficiently. Good posture means your bones will be aligned properly and your muscles, joints and ligaments will be able to work together as they were intended to. Your vital organs will be in their proper positions, and able to perform with better efficiency. It will even contribute to a better functioning nervous system. Not only will you look and feel better, you will be able to exercise more effectively- you will get more bang for your buck each time you work out.
For more information, check out these resources: