Saturday, January 26, 2008

Posture Perfect

“Sit straight”, my school teacher would shout!!! “Walk erect “ my father would shout !!! Haven’t we been hearing this since ages???
So was there any substance behind their commands? The answer is yes.

What is good posture and why is it so important? Posture is defined as the body's alignment and positioning with respect to the ever-present force of gravity. Good posture entails distributing the force of gravity throughout our body so as not to overstress any one particular joint, muscle or structure.

Posture is affected by muscle imbalances, congenital factors and most importantly – lifestyle.
A well proportioned posture optimizes breathing, circulation of bodily fluids, range of motion at joints, and helps relieve stress.
A bad posture overstresses one particular area of the body and inturn creates an overall imbalance in the body leading to aches and pains.

In simple words, imbalances arise when one part of the body is more tight or tense than the other. Most common example would be the imbalance in the mid-section of the body. Due to excessive fat distribution in the abdominal area, the gravity tends to pull the body anteriorly. To counteract this pull, and keep the body erect, the muscles of the back tense up !! Over a period of time, the back muscles get tight thereby affecting the adjacent muscles, which then develops to “lower back pain” .

The spine – most important contributor in our body to a good posture – has an S curved appearance starting from the neck to the tailbone. Any muscle imbalance affects these curves and results in musculo-skeletal problems.

6 steps to ensure good posture –
Chin up and pointing ahead
Keep shoulders relaxed (most of the times, unknowingly, shoulders get tensed especially while driving, typing , cooking etc.)
Pull your abdominal muscles in
Keep your knees soft (avoid locking your knees)
Keep feet shoulder width apart
While sitting, align your head and hips in a straight line

Generally, strengthening the weaker muscles and stretching the tighter muscles is used to minimize imbalances and other problems. However, there can be many underlying reasons for these imbalances too.
Hence , Dosage: As recommended by the exercise doctor !!!!

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