A proper, natural posture not only gives a good look, it is also less demanding on the body. An upright posture ensures proper stacking of major body joints and can be maintained with less muscular effort. There is low level of strain on ligaments and other body parts and weight of the body is adequately distributed over the body structure.
As the posture starts deviating from its natural, upright position, different parts of body are strained unnaturally causing numerous complications. However, the problem can be resolved by designing your workout routine properly.
It was long time back when our ancestors moved out of their natural habitat. Earlier, in natural surroundings, they got plenty of exercise hunting, climbing tress, and generally fending for themselves. They maintained natural posture and gait.
Now the compulsions of our modern day life have forced most of us to develop faulty posture. The damage starts in the childhood when children sit for long hours with hunched back in the classroom or playing computer games. The sedentary lifestyle does not make things any easier for them.
When a child sits in front of the computer with “rounded” back and head drawn forward, the position of the body puts extra strain on various parts. The back is stretched and the muscles in the front of the neck are extended for considerable period. As the child repeats the act the adverse effects of the strained body position keeps accumulating. Gradually a fertile ground is prepared for start of aches and pains.
Not only that, the natural sense of balance is also affected. As hunching the back and jutting head forward becomes a habit, the body’s sense of balance reconciles with this new position. As a result the new posture becomes “normal”.
A right handed person uses his muscles on the right side more than his left muscles. Unless he does proper exercise to work up his muscles, he will develop asymmetrical posture. This development may not look apparent but will be discernible to the trained eyes.
As the child grows he continues with desk-type occupations and sedentary lifestyle. The faulty posture causes more and more problems with increasing age. Muscle spasms and fatigue, pinching of nerves and blood vessels, strain to the ligaments are some of the potential sources of trouble. Inactivity of the joints can cause inflammation and arthritis. Even more severe ailments cannot be ruled out.
Though we may not be able to do much for the compulsions of modern life, we can improve our posture by properly designing and following a workout routine. Before I talk about workout routine I must mention that the persons with medical problems should seek expert advice before starting regular exercise.
Whatever set of exercises you start, all major muscle groups should get adequate exercise. These may include muscles of legs, arms, shoulders, abdominal and pelvic area and neck. There should be exercises for gently stretching and contracting the back such as forward bending, backward bending, sideways bending, twisting of upper body keeping the feet unmoved. These exercises, beside giving other advantages, will keep the back bone supple and flexible.
It is needless to say that you cannot improve your posture in isolation. Your workout routine will improve your overall health including your posture.
Next time when you stand up and walk, remember to draw your stomach in, stick your chest out and hold your head high.
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Sanjay Johari regularly contributes articles to various ezines. See his site for more information on health and workout routine.
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