Posture is the position in which one holds the body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. Sitting or standing in the right position makes sure our bodies function properly. When a person slouches or slumps, it causes more pressure on the vertebrae, leading to poor circulation. This can cause vertebrae to deteriorate over time causing chronic fatigue. Finding the best way to stand, sit, and lift heavy objects is essential to avoiding both immediate and future spine difficulties, increasing your energy output and maintaining your desired physique.
1.1 Good posture
Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities. When our posture is correct, the ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should align in one straight line.
1.2 Causes of bad posture
Bad posture isn’t always a sign of laziness. All over the world, weight issues are becoming more common, and weight gain changes how our skeleton and muscles support themselves. People tend to be less active, which can lead to increased risk of disease. Chairs, hunching at work, unsupportive mattresses contribute to these problems.
2. Importance of proper posture:
- Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment
- Decreases abnormal wearing of joint surfaces
- Reduces risk of arthritis.
- Decreases the stress on the ligaments
- Prevents fatigue as muscles are used efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
- Prevents strain or overuse problems.
- Prevents backache and muscular pain.
- Contributes to a good appearance.
- Improves organ function
- Reduces tension and pain in neck, shoulders, and back
- Increases concentration and mental performance
- Prevents humped shoulders
3. Spine Alignment
3.1 Spinal curves
The spine has natural curves that form an S-shape. The cervical and lumbar spines have a lordotic, or a slight inward curve, and the thoracic spine has a kyphotic, or gentle outward curve. The spine’s curves work like a coiled spring to absorb shock, maintain balance, and to facilitate the full range of motion throughout the spinal column. The spine has three natural curves, a concave cervical and lumbar curve, and a gentle convex thoracic curve.
3.2 Muscle groups
These curves are maintained by two muscle groups, flexors and extensors. The flexor muscles are in front and include abdominal muscles. These muscles enables to flex, or bend forward, and are important in lifting and controlling the arch in lower back. The extensor muscles are at back. These muscles allow us to stand upright and lift objects. Working together these muscle groups act as guy wires to stabilize your spine.
4. Appropriate posture for every position
4.1 Sitting posture
Head straight and not tilted up or down.
Shoulders back and relaxed.
Knees slightly lower than hips.
Feet flat on the floor.
Do not keep back ramrod straight.
Do not work without support for arms.
Do not tuck feet under the chair or cross legs above the knees.
4.2 Standing posture
Shoulders back and aligned.
Use stomach muscles to keep body straight.
Slightly bend knees to ease pressure on hips.
Use quality shoes that offer good support.
Do not stick your chest out.
Do not stand in the same position for long periods of time
Do not wear high heels when standing for long periods of time.
4.3 Walking posture
Chin parallel to the ground
Hit the ground with heel first, then roll onto the toe.
Stomach and buttocks in line with the rest of the body.
Do not look down at your feet.
Do not arch your back.
4.4 Running posture
Elbows at a 90 degree angle
Lean forward slightly
Hit the ground at midpoint of foot and roll it forward to the toe.
Do not hunch your shoulders
Do not bend at the waist
Do not lift your knees too high.
4.5 Sleeping posture
Use a firm mattress that provides support.
Use pillows as necessary to minimize spinal curves
Stretch before bed to ease tense muscles
Sleep on side(s) with a pillow between legs
Do not sleep on stomach.
Do not sleep with a tall stack of pillows that causes neck to bend unnaturally.
4.6 Driving posture
Use a back support at the back curve.
Knees to be at the same level or higher than your hips.
Seat to be close to the steering wheel to support the back curve.
5. Pragmatic Spine health
5.1 Easy exercises
Every morning and night, lie down on the floor and make slow stretch your arms and legs for two or three minutes. In addition to this, roll up a towel and place it underneath the spine. Stretches must be done slowly and flexibly.
5.2 Straight posture
While working at a desk, sitting up with good, tall posture and shoulders dropped helps to keep spine it the best position. Exercise disciplines like Pilates and yoga helps focus on body awareness and helps in sitting straight. Proper workstation set up is obligatory in promoting proper posture.
5.3 Strengthening core
The core muscles of the abdomen and pelvic area form the foundation of good posture. These core muscles can be enhanced with the help of exercises and yoga. A strong core elevates one’s athletic performance and endeavors many other advantages.
5.4 Spine support
After 40, people may have more weakening in the muscles around the spine. Exercises for back extensors, neck flexors, pelvic muscles, and side muscles are crucial. Trainers at gyms and special equipments targeting these muscles can help to bring endurance in the spine and trunk muscles.
One can manage ageing changes (like osteoporosis) in the muscles and spine with the help of weight-bearing exercises, like walking, stair climbing, and weight lifting. A regular walk can keep the body healthy and can better bone density than sedentary people.
5.6 Healthy diet
Vitamin D is essential for bone health, and helps maintain muscles too. One can get it from a healthy diet. Calcium is essential for the body for a healthy spine. It is recommended to get calcium from food rather than supplements.
It is essential to have a diagnosis on bone mineral density to detect osteopenia or osteoporosis. Even though activities like progressive resistance training can halt or reverse bone loss in some cases, medications may also help. Hormone-based medications can help build bone density.
6. Back yourself
- Proper alignment of lower back (lumbar curve) can prevent injury to your vertebrae, discs, and other portions of your spine.
- Workspace can be rearranged to keep your spine from slouching.
- Regular exercise is important to prevent back pain and injury.
- Strengthening, stretching and aerobic exercises improves overall fitness level.
- Physically fit people are more resistant to back injuries and pain, and recover quicker