Sit up Straight
No doubt you have likely heard this phrase as a small child by a parent or a concerned relative. It likely resulted in you snapping to attention with your chin held high, only to slowly deflate over the coming minutes once you forgot about it and moved onto other things. Indeed, I have only to say the word ‘posture’ in a room full of people and immediately I see people stick their chests out and uncurl their upper backs.
You might be wondering, why is this so important and why does it matter? Well, your concerned family members were correct: posture does matter. But, it might not be to the extreme that you are picturing. With just a few small adjustments, your spine will thank you.
One of the first concepts of good posture is maintaining a neutral spine. This is pretty easy to do and by standing up and walking a few steps, usually, your spine hits neutral and enjoys being there. Think of a building; typically an architect will not design it with an extreme lean. Without the proper support, the whole structure is likely to be classified as not structurally sound and unsafe. This is generally the same advice for your back: postures that deviate from neutral can put a strain on to the muscles, ligaments, joints and vertebrae. Over time, this strain can build-up and can contribute to awful injuries. A way to break up this cycle is easy. Stand up, walk around for a few minutes (continuous movement) and you’ll be good to go. Taking this idea with you into the future- be mindful of how you move. Do you like to curl your low back forward to pick things up? This forward flexion most definitely deviates from neutral. Do you stand with your hips jutted forward? You may be prone to excessive back bending (lumbar extension). Remember, neutral is nice and deviation can be debilitating.
The next concept of posture can also be good for your psyche. Give this talk a listen to hear the full story: Your body language shapes who you are. In a nutshell, if you stand like a Superhero, you might begin to feel like a Superhero. Last I checked, Superheroes wasn’t slumped forward, but stand tall with a wide, strong chest. You can do this too. Start by standing up, arms by your sides. Take your thumbs and begin to rotate them outwards, like you are trying to show two people in front of you the palms of your hands. While you are doing this, let your shoulders fall backwards. Did you notice your chest open? Good. This is your posture re-set position. Try to do this multiple times per day, especially after sitting and working for awhile.
Good posture should not make you feel sore or tired. If it does, you may not have the correct position, you may need more support for your spine, or you may have some muscular weakness that should be addressed. Any one of our therapists at Pemberton Valley Wellness can help you with this.
Remember, good posture is attractive and can make you feel well. Love your spine.