Good Posture is Essential For Good Health
Our modern lifestyles are doing nothing good for our posture and consequently our health. All those millions of years learning to stand upright and we spend all our time sitting down! Compound that with the amount of time that we spend checking our phones and our posture really suffers. According to the American Journal of Pain Management “Posture effects and moderates every physiological function from breathing to hormonal production including spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse, and lung capacity.” Also, according to an article in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society poor posture has also been linked to “a trend towards greater mortality”.
So What is Normal Posture?
In normal posture you stand with the skeleton aligned so that your head, torso, hips and legs are help upright with minimal muscular force and placing no strain on the ligaments.
Two major risks to normal posture are the amount of time you spend sitting (normally this means slouching) and the amount of time you spend checking your phone. Your body adapts to help you do the things that you do regularly or for long periods of time even if it’s not designed to accommodate those positions. It’ll just do the best it can.
Over the past 7 years mobile usage has grown from less than 30 minutes a day to 6 times this at nearly 3 hours a day for an average adult! This forward head tilt occurs every time we look at our phone and effectively changes the weight of the head from 10-12 pounds to as much as 60 pounds. Over time, this puts excessive strain on the spinal joints and causes tension within the muscles of the neck, shoulders and upper back.
What should you do to improve your posture?
First, try to change your position frequently. If you work at a computer or sit at a desk for much of your day see if you can move from sitting to standing at regular intervals. Standing desks are becoming more common giving you that option but if that’s not feasible in your job then at least stand to answer phone calls or get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour.
Also, start holding your smart phone at eye level. This will prevent you from excessively flexing your head forward. Additionally, squeeze your shoulder blades together 5 times every time you look at your smart phone as this will help strengthen your mid back.
If you’re at all concerned about your posture or would like to know if you’re already storing problems for the future we can carry out a PostureScreen assessment for you. This involves taking two photographs and then marking specific points on your structure. The software then assesses and highlights any deviations from normal. We charge £25 for a PostureScreen (£10 for members).
You can then use this information to regularly do exercises that will combat the effects of poor posture by strengthening the muscles of the neck and upper back.
The earlier you start, the better – do them not only for your posture but for your overall well-being!
If you’d like more information about the PostureScreen Assessment please give us a call on 01249 463002.