Posture is the attitude assumed by the body either when the body is stationary or when it is moving.
Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit and lie in positions that place least strain on the supporting muscles and ligaments during movement. Bad or poor posture can lead to excessive strain on the muscles causing discomfort.
If faulty postures are assumed continually on a daily basis, it will lead to discomfort and injury like back pain, neck pain, joint pain etc.
Being aware of a good posture is the first step to breaking old poor posture habits and reducing stress and strain on body parts.
Sitting properly: Ensure that your feet are on the floor or on a footrest rather than hanging midair.
Keep your knees at or below your hip level
Maintain relaxed shoulders
Keep back straight and supported.
Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time
Standing properly: Ensure that your weight is borne equally on both feet.
Tuck your stomach in and have your hands hang naturally from the sides
Keep your shoulders relaxed
Maintain an erect posture throughout
Why maintain a good posture?
- A good posture enables muscles to work efficiently ensuring that the body uses less energy so that a task can be performed for a longer period of time with minimal fatigue.
- Prevents back/joint pain
- Abnormal wear and tear of the joints is reduced which could lead to arthritis
- Improves breathing, circulation and digestion
- Improves relaxation and performance and gives you a sense of well-being.
- Our lifestyle is causing us to adopt bad postures for example; slouching, sitting infront of the television/computer for a long period of time, constantly looking down into your phone and texting causing back and neck pain; carrying heavy bags causing shoulder pain and wearing high heels throughout the day causing heel pain.
Following are some of the commonly seen “poor postures” assumed by people and some simple measures to correct them.
Lumbar Lordosis: Lordosis refers to the normal curves of the neck and low back that are inwards. In this posture we will look at the low back (lumbar) curve. The low back curves inwards more than it normally does and hence there is muscle imbalance of the surrounding region.
- In kneeling position, bend one leg in front and shift your body weight on the leg in front while experiencing a stretch on the muscles of the upper thigh of the opposite leg.
- Bridging: lie on your back, bend your knees, lift your hip up, hold it for a few seconds and then return back.
- Get on all four limbs (like a dog) and keep your back straight- take a deep breath and lift your chin up and arch your back; then curl your back, tuck your chin in and breathe out
- Abdominal crunches
- Lie on your back, bend your knees, place a towel roll under the low back and press on it for a few seconds, release and repeat.
- Lie on your back and place both hands at the back of your head and try touching the elbows to the bed.
- Lie on your stomach with arms kept aside at shoulder level. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your back up extended forward and lift your body up. Hold, release and repeat.
- Chin tucks- draw your chin towards your neck and hold the position for a few seconds. Release and repeat
- Place one of your hand across your head to the opposite ear and pull it sideways. Repeat the same for the other side.
- Place your hands over your shoulders and rotate clockwise and anticlockwise.
Dr. Kimberly Dias