It’s that time of year again when children go back to school and all those lovely weeks of relaxation are forgotten almost instantly. While at school children are learning large amounts of information, but this comes with a price – a giant textbook, a musical instrument, a laptop. All of these essential school items needing to be carried to and from school each day soon add up to a rather heavy load.
Struggling to keep up with your new years resolution or didn’t come up with a good one for 2018? The official start date has passed but it’s never too late to get started on improving your lifestyle, so here are some tips on how you can improve your posture.
One of the most frequent and best tips that I can give to someone suffering from discomfort on a daily basis is to assess their posture – this includes when standing, sitting, driving, during certain movements and even when sleeping.
Good posture is important for you to create good health and plays such a huge part in how we feel on a day to day basis.
If we spend most of our time slumped forward we are putting added pressure on our organs and muscles.
One major muscle that comes under pressure when we slump is our diaphragm; which we use to breathe – if you are slumped forward your diaphragm is squashed and you won’t be able to breathe as deeply as your body is capable of – you may not notice this as you go about your daily life but reduced oxygen in your body means that you get tired and worn out more easily – standing up straight helps you breathe more easily!
As we know the spine has 4 curves and maintaining these helps keep your spine healthy – the curve that takes the most pressure from our modern lifestyle is the one in our neck – if we slump forward when we sit or spend a lot of time staring at our mobile devices we are often moving our neck out of its natural curve. As well as placing stress on the joints in our spine, the muscles around the area start to get sore and tight from misuse.
One of the main considerations when thinking about posture is to have your spine in a neutral position – this is when your spine is in its best position and you aren’t placing any added strain on any particular part of it. this is especially important when you are standing but you also want to carry the comfortable neutral spine position into all your other postures and movements.
How sitting affects your body:
- Taking a seat shortens your hip flexors, bends the spine forward and places strain on the low back, upper back and neck
- Furthermore, practically every action we do when sitting involves reaching in front of us; to type, grab the phone, move the mouse, reach for your drink
- When you spend your time hunched over a computer the joints in your back can become restricted and immobile – fixed into the position that they spend most of their time in
- When the joints become less mobile the surrounding muscles start to become strained as they have to change the way they work to compensate for the immobility in the spine
A few quick and easy tips to follow when you are sitting are:
- Place your bottom at the back of the chair you are sitting in – this is easier on a desk/hard chair than the sofa – if your sofa is deep you may want to consider putting some cushions behind your back for support
- make sure you rest back against the chair you are sitting in – this takes the pressure off your postural muscles to hold you upright and discourages a slumped forward posture.
- Test out your mattress before you buy it – different people sleep better with different firmness
- Sleep on your back or side rather than on your front where your neck will be twisted to one side
One of the best ways to improve your posture is to get moving!
- If you sit all day at work – try to get up and move around every 30-50 minutes (taking regular breaks at work is also thought to improve your productivity)
- Get moving in your spare time – go for a walk or do a fun activity that involves getting up and moving around
- Add some movement into your commute – I was thinking along the lines of walking some of the way or cycle but if you want to dance on the tube then that will work too!
- The BCA has a lovely and simple to follow 3-minute exercise programme called ‘Straighten up’ – you can find the link below
- There is also a great app that my colleagues at Lucks Yard Clinic have produced which is all about stretches – it even has reminders you can set. The app is called Chiro Moves and can be found in your app store.
Links related to this post:
Straighten up UK: https://chiropractic-uk.co.uk/straighten-up-uk/