Techniques to Reverse the Effects of Poor Posture
Techniques to Reverse the Effects of Poor Posture
Poor posture in daily life creates several repercussions which are both physically and mentally capable of impacting quality of life for both men and women. In this article, I aim to shed some light on the topic and explain why we should pay close attention to our body posture and how to reverse the habitual slouch.
Many times when in my teenage years my parents would pull me up and scold me for slouching, standing at medium height poor posture was making me appear to be shorter than I actually was, never a good thing with the ladies.
Modern Lifestyle Encourages Poor Posture and Bad Body Habits
Most of us spend the vast majority of our daily work time and leisure time hunched over a computer screen or staring down at our iPhone or tablet.
Unfortunately, all of that constant slouching is wreaking havoc on our spines, necks and overall health and well being, encouraging a gradual inclination to look at the floor and slouch.
Our minds are making sense of the data it collects in our over stimulating environments. The bright lights, sounds, smells and terrain are all bodily senses that require a part of our brain to process and guide our next actions.
Mental stimulation has many benefits and encourages mathematical and reading skills, but too much time spent on electronic devices is taxing on both our brain and postural alignment leading to the perpetual slouch.
No More Slouching Please
When we slouch forward, our head juts all the way forward and tilts downward, flexing our anterior neck muscles and over stressing the trapezius, splenius, and longissimus muscles. Blood, nerve innervation, and air flow become harder and require much more energy than before.
Neck vertebrae can be easily pulled out of alignment, this can create curvature imbalances at points along the spine and in some cases can even damage vital nerves.
With our bodies and posture applying muscular strength to sit or stand up straight and tall requires both mental and physical energy. Without adequate mental down time, our muscles simply tire. This compromises a persons alignment and postural integrity.
However when a person is well rested and relaxed, strong and flexible, they remain more upright, with good spinal extension and posture. Our ribcage broadens, the torso lengthens and breathing is easier, not only that it will take longer to become breathless when exerting such as walking for a length of time.
Practice Good Posture Daily
A daily practice of good posture is vital to our ongoing health and well being. It would be a shame after all to do all that hard work down at the gym, strength training, watching nutrition and weight loss only to spoil the overall effect with poor posture.
Every day our readers should be encouraged to work on their posture, we just need to keep maintaining good posture focused in the mind. Good posture technique helps build and maintain the strength required for our diaphragm and lungs. So that our lungs may provide our brain and body with adequate air to stay alert and responsive to external stimuli. In short we become more self aware and have a spring in our step.
Common Poor Posture Problems and Solutions
Problem Computer Screens – Sitting hunched over a computer screen forces our chest muscles to tighten significantly, which can cause excessive spinal curvature (kyphosis) of the upper back (thoracic spine). Postural muscles in the upper region of the back simply weaken and loosen over time. Computers are a symptom of the modern age, some people use them all day, therefore it requires effort to combat these posture problems.
Solution – Fix annoying chest tightness with self myofascial release (for example try using a massage ball) and then stretching, while strengthening the upper back postural muscles. A good exercise for hunch back posture is upper back foam rolling. When at the computer desk keep in mind to sit up straight while you type and take regular breaks ( this will help your eyes also. )
Problem Forward Tilt – Forward tilt of the hips (which is also known as anterior pelvic tilt) is generally linked with tight hip flexors, these are a group of muscles located right at the front of your hips, what these hip muscles do is pull the knee upward. As you walk around conducting daily life these tight hip flexors stop the glutes (your butt muscles) activating.
This in turn is what forces the hamstring muscles to feel very tight and overloaded. If you have tight hamstrings, the probable cause of the poor posture you are experiencing may be found in tight hip flexors and an anterior pelvic tilt.
Solution – Stretch your hip flexors with some static lunges, such as the crescent lunge, activate your butt glutes with stretch exercises like glute bridges, also try the foam roll and properly stretch your hamstrings.
Problem Over Pronation – Over pronation is adding too much stress to the feet, it tightens the calf muscles, it can also cause knee rotation. Over-pronation often leads to a condition called Plantar Fasciitis as well as Heel Spurs, Metatarsalgia, Post-tib Tendonitis and even Bunions. As many as 30% of Americans have flat feet, or over-pronated feet which is a significant number.
Solution – If the back arch in the body has already fallen, then orthotics are the ideal solution and treatment. If the back arch is in the process of falling over, or is becoming weak, then bare foot running or walking may reinforce the back arches. However be sure to check with your doctor as always.
Our posture can affect a lot of things, including our body confidence, quality of everyday life and naturally just how we envisage other people feel about us.
Achieving good posture is simply a lifestyle habit that pays off dividend over time. A good personal trainer can advise on other good posture techniques and products not covered here.