From a young age, a lot of you may have been told many times by your elders to stand straight or stop slouching. That reminder is something that you should take seriously even as an adult because bad posture poses a multitude of health dangers and risks to your body. It puts too much strain and pressure on your bones, muscles, and ligaments, and can lead to long-term discomforts and injuries.
What is good posture?
If your body parts receive the right amount of support from your bones and muscles to keep everything aligned correctly and in their proper places, you are exhibiting good posture.
A good standing posture is when your back is straight, your shoulders are pulled backward, and your arms are naturally hanging down on your sides. Your feet are placed apart in line with your shoulders, with your knees a little bit bent and your weight mostly focused on the balls of your feet. You make sure that your stomach is tucked in too.
A good sitting posture is when your back is straight, and your mid and low back areas are resting on the backrest. Your shoulders are relaxed, not slumped, and your forearms are parallel to the floor. Your feet are touching the ground, and your knees are slightly lower than your hip level.
What happens if you have bad posture?
Having bad posture has a long list of negative effects that can drastically affect your bodily functions.
- It wears your joints and ligaments out faster.
- It prevents your muscles from working efficiently, thus forcing the body to use up more energy.
- It puts you at risk of muscle fatigue.
- It makes you prone to back and muscle pains.
- It places too much stress on the ligaments that link together your joints, making you susceptible to injuries.
- It disrupts the proper flow of oxygen to the tissues, organs, the brain and the nervous system, and the rest of the body.
- It constricts your blood flow, and may result to deep vein thrombosis and blood clots.
- It affects your physical appearance, making you look less attractive and presentable.
- It makes you prone to cardiovascular diseases, digestive problems, nerve disorders, and various other severe diseases and complications.
What can you do to improve your posture?
Even if your bad posture started from since you were a kid, you still have the chance correct it as an adult and live a longer and healthier life. The following are some good posture correcting exercises that you can do at home:
Do your shoulders frequently hurt after hours and hours of sitting in front of the computer everyday? To get rid of that, you should try shoulder rolls as often as possible.
Every hour or so, while at your desk, you can take a couple of minutes to roll your shoulders to release the tension that has built up there. All you have to do is raise both of your shoulders up to your ears, hold them in that position for a few seconds, and then pull them back down, all in a circular motion.
Did you know that having a strong core is crucial to having a good posture? Planks are an excellent core exercise that works on various muscle groups of the body. They are great for strengthening the abdominal muscles, as well as the back and the shoulders.
To do a plank, lie face down on the ground, and then raise yourself with your arms until they are straight. Make sure that your back and legs are straight. Stay in that position for about 30 seconds or for as long as you can manage. Eventually, as your core becomes stronger, you will be able to last longer.
Do you like to dance? One exercise that can help make you achieve proper form is pilates swimming. It focuses on improving your core, most especially your back, so that you can stand or sit up straight without any problem.
Get into position by lying face down on the ground. Extend both of your arms out forward, a little bit above head level. Then, lift your right arm and your left leg at the same time. Go back to starting position. Then, do the same with your left arm and right leg. Repeat several times.
Have you gotten used to your back aches and pains because of how long you have had them and how they seem to not go away despite all the medication you have been taking? You need to do more than just pop in a pill or two to get rid of your back problems. Why not try back extension exercises?
To begin, you should lie face down on the floor, and extend your arms out over your head. Then, slowly lift your body up using your shoulders. See how far from the floor you can go, and remain in that position for as long as you can. Go back to starting position once you feel tired. Rest for a bit, and then repeat.
Has your years of sedentary lifestyle and bad posture made it difficult for you to do simple things now, like picking something up from the floor, or tying your shoelaces? As you grow older, you become more prone to back and hip pains and injuries. This is the result of the inactivity and the unnecessary strain you have subjected your muscles to. But, with kneeling stretches, you can help relieve those tight muscles and be able to move around more comfortably.
Lunge your right leg forward, with your left knee resting on the ground. Place both of your hands on your right knee, and then push your hip as far forward as you can go. This stretches the muscle that links your hip and your spine. Go do the same with your left leg lunged forward and your right knee resting on the ground. Repeat as many times as you want.