The correct posture is the least demanding on body structure. The weight of the body is properly distributed and the stress of activities such as walking and lifting are absorbed without excessive strain on any part. A person working with correct posture can do enormous amount of work for a longer period. Try to do the same work with incorrect posture and you will not only get tired much faster but you may also injure yourself.
In our evolutionary process the human body developed the posture for bearing body weight and facilitating body movements with highest efficiency and least expenditure of energy. We can maintain natural posture for bearing ourselves by using the muscles to the extent intended by the nature.
Just watch small children. They maintain good posture because they can run about and play without inhibitions. They get the required exercise for their muscles.
In our modern lifestyle there is lack of opportunity to use our muscles and weakening of muscles leads to bad posture. By our daily routine certain muscles work overtime and other muscles are sparingly used. There are jobs involving sitting on a chair for longer periods either in classrooms, at workplaces or even at home. This puts unnatural strain on lower back and this is the area where troubles start most frequently. If there is extra weight in the belly and around the hips the strain is further aggravated.
What is correct posture anyway?
As a rule of thumb the correct posture gives minimum strain to your spine. The idea is that when you are in upright position the spine should remain reasonable vertical and should not be used as a lever. When you stand be in a relaxed position ensuring that your spine is reasonably straight. Don’t be stiff like a soldier and at the same time don’t be too relaxed which will tend to arch your back. Earlier we talked about the lower back which is a hot trouble spot and demands careful attention. When you stand and walk try to tuck in your bottom and draw in your belly. This should improve your posture.
Another area where you need to watch is your head and shoulders. Often you see people with head protruding and shoulders hunched forward. You can get this condition, for example, if you work at your computer for long stretches. If you notice this tendency in yourself you should consciously straighten up your head and draw back your shoulders. If you have to sit before a computer continuously, take time to get up and stretch yourself periodically.
Good posture is not limited to standing. For every activity there is a good posture. As a general rule keep your spine straight as much as possible. If you have to stretch your spine in any direction avoid heavy muscular activity in that condition. Do not try to open a jammed window while lunging forward. If you have to open that jammed window come close to the widow so that you do not have to bend your back too much while applying force. In case you have to look for something on the floor, instead of bending over you will do better to go down on all the four and support your back with your hands.
When you have to sit for extended periods in your work place, use a chair with a back rest which will keep your spine reasonably straight. While driving your car move your seat forward. Your seat will then support you while you drive and particularly when you apply brake. At the same time you will not have to stretch your leg to press the accelerator. While lifting something use the muscles of your arms and legs more that the muscles of your back. Use hard bed for sleeping.
By far the best way to have a good posture and avoid all the troubles associated with faulty posture is to follow a proper workout routine. There is simply no substitute for regular exercise.
I have outlined some simple steps which can help you maintain good posture. Just remember the guiding principle that the spine should be kept straight and it should not be used as a lever. However, you do not have to worry much about of your posture if you exercise the major muscle-groups of your body regularly. Preventing the trouble is always better than curing it.
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Sanjay Johari regularly contributes articles to various ezines. Please visit his site for more information on health and workout routine.
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