On daily basis, people strive to maintain good posture. Good posture goes beyond the way we look, it includes the way we sit, stand and walk and its effects on our health and mood. Posture refers to the position that holds the body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture involves training the body to stand, sit or lie in positions that will not over strain the muscles and ligaments during movement or rigorous activities. Posture has an influence on how we feel, function and our general health.
Several factors frequently work on our alignment to achieve good posture. These factors include; core support, muscles imbalances, the connectivity of the body and tension pattern. The body is dynamic and mobile and better posture is achieved when we remember the body's inherit mobility.
Stretching is crucial for flexibility, range of motion and injury prevention. Incorporating stretching into daily routine is important, for the improvement in health and functioning of the body. Routine stretching help to increase blood flow and nutrients to the muscles and cartilage. Stretching helps to loosen the tight muscles that may be affecting the posture negatively. Some of the stretches to improve posture are;
- Spinal Extension: This involves lying on the stomach with the hands by the stomach’s side. Then gently, the hands are placed on the floor while elevating the chest and arching the spine. This particular pose is held 3 times before lowering. Spinal extension stretch is very crucial for the body posture and health. Since the body seldom bend backwards, spinal extension stretch can help balance the back.
- Plank: Plank stretching can add new challenge to the abdominal strengthening routine. Other than activating the abdominal muscles, the buttocks, shoulder and legs can be used to stabilize the body. This makes plank stretching a full body exercise. Plank usually involves elevating the body into a table top position and relaxing on your arms and toes. It can be modified by lowering the kneel to the floor, hold for some seconds and repeat three times.
- The Mountain Stretch: The mountain stretch helps the body to stand tall and strong. It starts in a standing position and the palm will be placed facing outwards and then stretch the arms.
- Chest Stretch: This stretch can be done either standing or seated. It involves taking a deep breath and as you breath out, gradually lower your elbow down and placed them behind your back. Then you will feel the shoulder blades slide down and together, and simultaneously a stretch will be felt across your chest. The chest stretches targets shoulder, arm and chest. It also helps to promote good posture.
- Cat-Cow pose: It involves moving the spine from a rounded position to an arched one. This stretch helps to prevent back pain and maintain a healthy spine. This stretch is very good for people who sit for a very long time. It improves spinal proximity and stamina strength. The stretch helps to keep the spine warm, relieves back pain and neck tension after a long day.
- Child Pose: This is usually done in a kneeling position when you sit on your heels, separate the kneel and lean forward, thereby resting your forehead on the floor. This particular pose can be maintained for about 30seconds.
- Back Pump: This stretch can be done while seated. This stretch benefits most people who are feeling tense in their upper back and shoulder. It involves making a fist with your right hand and placing the fist on the left hand with your elbow pointing out and palm facing you. Then sit upright straight, press your hands together and roll your shoulders back and down. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, press hands against each other, hold for 5 seconds and then release. Repeat this for three times. This stretch helps to relax the traps and releasing their hold on the vertebrae and scapulae.
Over time, some repeated routine activities like sitting in the office chair, carrying your bag on the same shoulder, driving, prolonged standing and carrying small children may cause bad posture. Bad posture can cause neck pain as well as gradually damaging the spinal structures. Some of the tips for maintaining a fix posture are outlined below.
Tips for Better Posture:
- Regular Exercise to Prevent Injury and Promote Good Posture: The efficiency of the body’s cardiovascular system can be improved with some regular exercises like swimming, walking or cycling. These exercises enable the cardiovascular system to absorb and transport more energy. Also, some specific exercises will help the surrounding muscles of the back to stay strong. These exercises help to promote good posture, better conditioning of the muscles and prevent injury.
- Avoid Over protecting Posture: It is important to always maintain an overall relax posture. Avoid clenching your muscles and adopting an unnatural stiff posture. Unless there is a fracture, the structure of the spin is designed for movement and any limitation in motion over a long period of time can create a downward cycle of less motion and more pain.
- Remember good posture and ergonomic when in motion: It is important to always be conscious of good posture and ergonomic when we carry out our routine activities. Walking, holding a telephone and typing a message and lifting heavy materials requires good posture and ergonomic. Being conscious of good posture even when walking is important to prevent back injuries.
- Get Up and Move: Staying in a particular position for an extended period tends to make the muscles tire. When this happens, slouching, slumping and other bad postures become inevitable – this will put an extra pressure on the neck and the back. Therefore, it is advisable to change position frequently in order to maintain a relaxed and supported posture.
- Pay Attention to Low-back Pain: Tension in the hips and upper legs can cause low back pain. Therefore, avoid locking legs and ensure that your legs are stretch regularly to any direction. The muscles stretch better when they are warmed up with shaking first.
Maintaining a good posture has countless health benefits. It enhances the flexibility of the body. Some of the health benefits of good posture are;
- Energy: Good posture and energy are interlinked. This is due to the fact that maintaining a good posture will bring about a proper alignment of the muscles and ligaments. When the muscles are properly aligned, they will not be overworked and this will bring about a lot energy.
- Preventing Arthritis: Maintaining good posture can help prevent arthritis. This is because the proper alignment between the ligaments and the muscles help to prevent the joint from moving in ways that can cause arthritis.
- Facilitates Breathing: Maintaining a good posture helps to facilitate free flow of oxygen. When energy flows freely, it carries blood to the organs and tissues of the body. Good posture can make the torso to be straight and the airway will be free. When there is free passage of air in the airway, oxygen flow is uninterrupted.
- Prevent the risk of injury: The body has less risk of injury when properly aligned. When good posture is maintained, the possibility of straining your neck and back is slim. Proper posture should be maintained while carrying out smaller task. Most people who have complained about back pain over the years always get relief after working on their posture and alignments. When bad posture is not corrected in time, it can destroy spinal disk.
- Improve Image: Good posture improves one’s image in the society. People with good posture naturally look smarter and more attractive. People with good posture is naturally appealing to all.
Maintaining a good posture and putting our muscles and ligaments into alignment is very essential. Always maintain a good posture and improve your image in the society Bad posture is a known enemy to our physical health, always avoid it. Maintain good posture and remain healthy, as health is wealth.