Posture can be defined as the stable position in which the body is held when standing, sitting or sleeping. An ideal posture is quite simply the best or most standard skeletal alignment and gives you the freedom and precision of movements. The importance of ideal posture cannot be overemphasized and it should be a lifetime habit and not a short-term intervention.
What is ideal posture?
- Sitting posture
Maintaining ideal sitting posture requires you to keep the back straight and maintain the curve of your spine. Remember to keep your knees aligned with your hips and lift the chest slightly upwards. In order to maintain ideal sitting posture, avoid soft couches and instead use a backrest or support to reduce the load on your lower back.
- Standing posture
While standing, remember to distribute your weight equally on each foot. Keep your shoulders relaxed and chin parallel to the ground. The sternum should be aligned with the pubic bone and chest should be lifted up.
- Sleeping posture
To ensure a good night’s sleep, try to lie down in a position that preserves the natural curve of the lower back. Placing a pillow under the knees or on the side can help you improve your sleeping posture.
Can wrong postures cause problems?
- Back pain
Spending long hours on the keyboard or slouching at the office desk can cause severe damage to your back. The wrong posture over a period of time can cause damage to your spine, discs and joints leading to back pain.
- Neck pain
Poor posture can cause gradual but significant damage to the neck. Daily activities like working on the computer, using the mobile phone, watching TV, and reading require you to tilt the head forward and exert strain on the neck’s muscles and ligaments.
- Knee pain
Weak and poor posture has a negative impact on the health of important joints such as the knees. Damage to the nerves due to the wrong posture can cause pain to radiate from the knees to the hips thighs, ankles, and feet.
How to correct the posture through exercise
Correcting posture doesn’t require a herculean effort; even the smallest changes in your lifestyle can go a long way. Doctors recommend a break from work every 30 minutes to stretch your limbs or walk about for a minute or two. Simple exercises like nodding your head down and up, moving your neck from one side to another and rolling your shoulders can make a world of difference.
Use of ergonomic supports
Apart from regular stretching and movement, investing in high-quality ergonomic supports can fix your posture. For instance, a lumbar belt provides support to reduce the pressure on your discs and also prevents any unnecessary movement of the spine. Using a back support also corrects your posture by maintaining the natural curve of your spine and filling in the gap between the lumbar spine and your seat. By using a neck brace for a prolonged period of time you can retain your spinal alignment and thereby improve your posture. Cervical pillows ensure that your neck and head are properly aligned when you are lying down and are helpful in correcting sleeping posture.