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Slouchy No More: Improve your posture

24 Feb. 2013 Posted by Hannah Mich in proper posture, postural alignment, poor posture, improve posture
stretches, postural exercises

Sitting at a computer desk eight hours a day. Driving long commutes to and from work. Lounging in your over-stuffed couch watching television. Combine these activities with stressful lifestyles and the obesity epidemic, and it is no wonder we are a society with a generally “slouchy” posture.

One of the first things I address when starting an exercise program for a client is their daily posture. If your posture is poor during the day, you are more likely to struggle with poor exercise technique as well. Why? Because slouchy posture generally means postural muscles are weak and, therefore, you cannot maintain proper alignment during sitting and standing let alone during a squat or plank exercise.

So what constitutes poor posture? The most common postural discrepancies are when the head drops forward, and the shoulders and upper back are rounded forward. However, minor postural discrepancies vary from person to person. For example, Suzy Smith’s right shoulder may slump forward more than her left because she is right handed and uses the computer mouse eight hours a day five days a week.

How does a slouchy posture affect your health? Constant slouching causes strength and flexibility imbalances between muscle groups and causes postural muscles to become weaker. For example, sitting for prolonged periods day after day often leads to tight hip flexor muscles (thigh muscles) and weak gluteus muscles (buttock muscles). Over-time, these imbalances can create various problems with your muscles, tendons and joints, or further aggravate existing conditions. For example, poor posture may contribute to the cause or further aggravate muscle strains, tendinitis and arthritis. To top it off, tight and weak muscles associated with slouchy posture may also be associated with impaired circulation, misalignment of your spine, and poor balance.

What to do about the slouchiness? The first step is recognizing you have poor posture. If you have a pre-existing condition and you believe your daily routine and slouchy posture is aggravating it, seek additional medical advice from your doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor or orthopedist. Otherwise, follow these guidelines to further improve slouchy posture.

* Stand in front of a mirror. Tuck your chin towards your neck, roll your shoulders back and gently push your chest out. Look at yourself. This is proper upright posture.

* With this proper posture sit at your desk. Re-arrange your monitor, keyboard, mouse and chair so that you can maintain this posture throughout the workday. This is often referred to as an ergonomic workstation.

* With this proper posture sit in the driver’s seat of your vehicle. Adjust your steering wheel, seat and mirrors so you can maintain this posture.

* Practice makes perfect. I cannot emphasize this enough. The more consistent you are with practicing proper posture the sooner it will become habit.

* Move around. If you have a desk job, this is especially important. Once every hour stand up and move around for a few minutes. This will not only help your posture, but it gives your brain and eyes a brief break, too.

* Stretch daily. Think roll, kick and reach. Sitting or standing, roll the following one at a time: your ankles, hips, wrists, shoulders and head. Kick one knee at a time so it is extended and then bend it back and repeat. Lastly, reach your arms high up in the air. And do not forget to take nice deep breathes while rolling, kicking and reaching.

Improving your slouchy posture is one of the simplest changes you can make to improve your health. It requires no special gadgets, or equipment, and may even make you less prone to common injuries and chronic pain. So we have improved health and no equipment, which means healthy and green.

Disclaimer The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only, and should not be used to replace professional medical advice. Visitors to the website are responsible for how they chose to utilize this content. This information should not be considered complete, nor should it be relied on in diagnosing or treating a medical condition. Content on this website does not contain information on all diseases, ailments, physical conditions or their treatment. Consult your physician before beginning a new treatment, diet or fitness program.

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