A book is often associated and used as an icon for good posture. Remember? Back ‘in the day’ mothers and teachers often had young kids walk balancing a book on their head to improve their posture. (Ever try it? It’s not that easy.) Did it improve posture? Well the jury is still out on that point, but it certainly did test patience and improve balancing skills. More importantly, though, I think it did focus on the fact that posture, somehow, is of ongoing importance. Unfortunately, It did not keep our interest.
Why is good posture so important? It makes you look better. No! No! (Well, yes it does make look better, but that is another post.) It’s simple. We are built to be in balance. It has to do with the fact that we stand up to walk, then we sit, lie down, jump, move, and the metrics or built in engineering to do those things is done best with the changing curves of a flexible and healthy spine. Ideally our spine is well balanced by muscles, muscle attachments, and a protected nervous system. The brain, of course, is “the boss of me” and runs The whole system.
If our labors define us, then sitting at a computer for longer periods of time, prolonged texting, watching TV and standing while leaning forward over our work will make us more and more round shouldered. Which alters our posture, hinders our breathing, harms our circulation and many more unhealthy conditions that we can talk about later.
Did you ever notice that, in most cases, a young baby’s spine is pretty straight? Then as they sit and crawl it becomes more of a “C”shape. Standing and walking brings curve reversal at the neck and lower back. The ideal “S” curve forms with the strongest combination of flexibility and strength/leverage arm advantage found in nature.
Fantastic! Of course However, the gift of flexibility, mobility and strength comes with major responsibilities.
- Get those curves right by sitting, crawling, and standing in the right order.
- Maintaining good posture by building balanced strength and the right amount and shape of the spinal curves. (A bit under-simplified and not always within our control. )
Where should we start? An excellent beginning would be to review the “Why?. Why worry about posture?
- Improves your appearance. people with great posture are often perceived as being smarter, more attractive, and even taller than they really are. Good posture gives an impression of command and appeal.
- Balances the muscle tension through-out the body thus reducing stress. This is especially helpful with muscles involved in breathing. The chest is opened up and decreases the tension that opposes inspiration or expiration. You can test that by breathing with good posture and then try it by slouching. Singing, Yoga, meditation and even sports measure in a practical way this difference.
- Improves self confidence and attitude. Just stand looking at a fixed point slightly above level for 1-2 minutes. how do you feel? Now slouch your head down 1 to 2 inches. Most people will notice a bit of sadness. You might soon note that slight changes gives a feeling of stength or confidence.
- Avoids Associatedg Injury. Stress created by poor posture can eventually lead to breakdown of knees, feet, hips and/or spinal segements. It also can lead to neck and pack pain, neuropathies,and circlulation related diseases. (See your personal health care professional if you feel you might have signs or symptoms of any of these problems.)
Tip of the Day: Instead of walking arround with a book on your head, read the book and start with a full sized mirrow to check your posture.
Check back here for new and important posture tips.