If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say this, well, I’d have a lot of nickels. And they’re right, posture is really important – even more than I thought it to be, to be honest. Because of this, I consider it a prudent choice to do a bit of research on posture. What makes it so important? What are some of the repercussions of poor posture? And what are some corrective measures?
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The Evolution of Man
Let’s start with a premise. Ever looked at the spread of evolution for humans? (I’ve included a picture below).
Now, I’m not saying posture leads to a more advanced species, but the changing posture of man is a good illustration of where we are (or where we should be) today.
What makes Posture so Important
That said, what makes posture so important? First, know what posture is. When having proper posture, you’ll have proper alignment and positioning of your back and body. As the Southern California Orthopedic Institute (SCIO) explains, “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 overstressed.”
Making sure no one part is overstressed is what makes posture so important.
When we have poor posture, it can lead to lower back pain. The more we overstress out lower backs – perhaps due to driving or sitting at a computer in a hunched over position – the more pain we will experience, either now or as we become older (like our poor friend in the picture above).
At the same time, however, we have to be vigilant with our posture while we are standing or exercising too. “Sitting and standing with proper postural alignment will allow one to work more efficiently with less fatigue and strain on your body's ligaments and muscles,” according to SCIO. In other words, it’s better to have proper poster (commonsensical, I know).
You might asking yourself how to avoid this, or how to fix it. Good questions.
How to Fix Bad Posture and Get in the Habit of Good Posture
Let’s begin with a discussion of repair.
First, you’ve got to be aware of your poor posture. How will you know? Well, that shooting pain in your back is one indicator. In addition to that, though, be conscious of how you sit when you sit, or how you stand when you stand. Consciously tell yourself to sit up straight! I can't stress this point enough. If you're looking for correction and longevity, conscious identification is step one.
Next, you may decide to go to a chiropractor or even get acupuncture. As reported by WebMD, Heinz Endres, MD, found that “Acupuncture represents a highly promising and effective treatment option for chronic back pain…Patients experienced not only reduced pain intensity, but also reported improvements in the disability that often results from back pain — and therefore in their quality of life.”
With your pain out of the way, now we can move on to prevention.
First, repeat step one from above: BE CONSCIOUS. This is really the most important step. Really. Ask yourself right now, do I have proper posture? Stand in front of a mirror and try to identify the spine’s natural double ‘C’ or ‘S’ curve. Evenly distribute your weight. You’ll probably feel taller.
Next, if you really need the help, you may consider getting some devices to help facilitate proper posture. Countless companies offer something of the like – a posture belt or control brace. Surf around the web for a bit to find yours and talk to your doctor or chiropractor for recommendations.
Sit up straight! You’re on your way to proper posture and better health!