By : Priyarupa Sinha ( L&T MHPS Boilers )
“Sit up straight!” “Don’t slouch!” I’m sure we’ve all heard those admonishing words more than once from our mother when we were growing up. And most of us would roll our eyes and as soon as mom walked away we’d slump back over in a hunch. Little did you know that she wasn’t just annoyed with how you were standing or sitting, there is a reason behind the madness! In fact she probably wasn’t aware of all the implications of poor posture herself! But somehow, some way your mother always seemed to know best.
Take a peek around your work place . What do you see? Workers hunched over their computers. Look at your fellow commuters on the subway. How do they sit? Slumped over their smartphones. Survey the friends and loved ones around you. How do they stand and walk? Likely a little stooped over
What is good posture anyway and why is it so important? Basically posture refers to the body’s alignment and positioning with respect to the ever-present force of gravity. Whether we are standing, sitting or lying down gravity exerts a force on our joints, ligaments and muscles. Good posture entails distributing the force of gravity through our body so no one structure is over stressed.
The Benefits of Good Posture
Improves bodily alignment. When you stand and sit with your body properly aligned, all your organs can function as intended. This includes your stomach, which is why good posture may improve digestion
Eliminates back and neck pain. When you have proper posture, your bones and spine can easily and efficiently balance and support your body’s weight. When you have improper posture, muscles, tendons, and ligaments have to constantly work to support that same weight. This extra, inefficient effort can lead to back and neck pain as well as tension headaches.
Improves breathing. To work efficiently, your lungs need room to expand in your chest. When you’re slumped over, your rib cage collapses a bit, leaving less room for your lungs to open, which in turn causes inefficient breathing.
Improves memory and learning. Since good posture enhances your breathing, it allows you to take in more oxygen, and when you take in more oxygen, your cognition improves.
Makes you look taller and slimmer. Some poor posture positions cause your belly to protrude, giving you a “beer belly” profile. And slumping over makes you appear shorter than you are. Standing up straight will correct these issues and improve your appearance.
Change your frame of mind.Posture also affects your frame of mind and your frame of mind can affect your posture. So, when you are well, feeling happy and on top of things, posture tends to be upright and open. In contrast, people who are depressed and in chronic pain, often sit or stand slumped.Next time you feel depressed or you’re anxious about something , try changing your posture, stand up straight and breath deeply.
How to achieve good posture
Stand against a wall. Staying in that position can do a lot to open up the muscles in your chest and shoulders.
Static back. Lie on the floor and place your legs on top of a bed, chair, or ottoman. Your knees should bend at a 90-degree angle. Get your hips as close to the chair (or whatever you’re using to rest your legs on) as possible. Lay your arms on the ground at your side. Just lie there like this for 5 to 10 minutes.
This position lines up your shoulders with your hips and helps relax the muscles in your lower back (an area that’s often tight due to bad posture). It also helps stretch your thoracic muscles.
Static wall. Instead of resting your legs on the bed, you’re going to put your legs up on a wall. To perform this stretch, lie on the floor with a wall in front of you. Bring your legs up the wall and scoot your butt as close to the wall as possible. You should look like you’re sitting on the wall. Rest your arms out to your side. Hold this position for 5 minutes. You’ll get the same stretch as with the static back, it will just feel more intense.
Pick supportive footwear for standing and walking. Choose shoes that have ample padding to help you hold yourself upright. In addition, make sure they have good arch support. Good posture starts with your feet.Avoid shoes with high heels, as they can change your body’s alignment. If you’re standing for long periods, add padding to the floor for additional comfort.
Adjust your computer monitor to help with your posture. If you work on computers at an office, angle the monitor slightly upward so that it forces you to sit up. However, don’t set it so high that you push your chin out to see it.
- You may need to move your chair up or down if you can’t angle the monitor properly.
- Adjust your chair and your position so that your arms are flexed, not straight out. Aim for roughly a 75- to 90-degree angle at the elbows. If they are too straight, you’re too far back, and if they are more than 90 degrees, you’re either sitting too close or you’re slouching.
Do Posture-Correcting Exercises.
Improve your core muscles with deep abdominal stretching. Lie on your back, with your legs bent to about 90 degrees at the knee and your feet on the floor. Pull your bellybutton up towards your chest and hold it for 10 sec.
Train your muscles for better posture with strength training. Exercises that strengthen the muscles across your upper back and shoulders help you maintain good posture
Use stretching for a sore neck or back. Tilt or stretch your head in all 4 directions over your shoulders (forward, back, left, right), and gently massage your neck. Avoid rolling your head in a circle, as it may cause further strain.
Practice yoga to increase flexibility and help with posture. Yoga is excellent for posture and for your health in general. It can also improve your balance. Yoga works your core muscles, making them stronger and helping you to keep a proper body alignment.
Standing straight and upright and enjoying your full humanness is within reach — it just takes some intentionality and consistent work. Stand tall and walk on my friends!