Gone are the days that some well-meaning teacher would take their knuckle and drive it into the middle of your back and tell you to sit up straight.
The American Chiropractic Association has found that even young children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations. Though a major cause of back and neck pain is kids and their backpacks, it is also our overall poor posture.
As we focus on May as Correct Posture Month, Dr. Steven Weiniger suggests this easy way to check your posture with any digital camera:
Have a friend take 3 pictures of you: from the front, back, and side. Stand straight and tall when they take the picture, with what feels like good posture. Print out the pictures, one to a sheet. Next, put a dot between your feet on the front and back view, and on your ankle on the side view, and then fold each paper in half vertically, neatly at the dot.
FRONT & BACK VIEW: The two halves of your body should be the same. If your head and/or torso is off to one side, or your arms are hanging differently (one hand is lower or further from the body than the other), your posture is not symmetrical.
SIDE VIEW: The line from your ankle should pass through your shoulder and ear. If your head is way forward of that line, you may have a posture distortion called Forward Head Posture.
The good news: there are easy things people can do to strengthen posture.
Beverly’s Hot Tips For Building Resiliency and Celebrating Correct Posture Month:
- Practice the wall stand. Back up to a wall so your heels, buttocks, shoulders and head all lightly touch the wall while you keep everything level, relaxed and aligned– and take 3 slow breaths, feeling your body’s best posture.
- Sit in Seiza: Kneel on the floor with your knees about three fists apart. Sit so that your bottom touches, but does not rest on, your heels. Place your palms on your thighs, right near your pelvis. Sit up straight, so that there is a slight concave curve in your lower back. Push your sternum out slightly. Tuck your chin in a little. If Seiza is uncomfortable, try sitting cross-legged on the floor.
- Evaluate your workstation. Look at what you do and how you do it. Is it having a negative impact on your posture? If so, make the necessary corrections.
- Are you sitting for much of the day? Try improving your productivity and posture using a standing desk like the one from AnthroDesk: http://anthrodesk.ca/manual-desk-converter.html. I like that I can move around and take my stand to any room that I chose to work in or even, head outside on a beautiful day like today.
- Lighten the load. Parents and schools need to become more aware of the risks associated with heavy backpacks, improper computer and desk ergonomics and physical inactivity. Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 10 percent of his or her body weight. A backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline.
- Shoes matter. For women, there is no such thing as a good high heel for your posture. Trade in the stilettos for a shoe that gives you the proper support.
- Lastly, if you are a gadget geek, one site promoted the iPosture. This little round electronic disc is designed to improve your posture. You wear it on your chest, either as a pendant, hooked to the bra strap, or stuck directly to the chest and every time you slouch, it alerts you via a brief vibration to sit or stand upright
- It is critical to understand that the body impacts the mind. Standing up straight and walking tall will help you to think and feel better. Having correct posture actually helps you to be calmer, more relaxed, and more physically and mentally healthy.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!