The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Health & Fitness

April 30, 2014

Proper posture is important for good health

“Oh, my aching back.” How many of you have said those words about a nagging muscle or ligament problem? While slips on ice, trips over curbs and improper lifting can be the cause of those problems, there’s another culprit. Who or what is this guilty party? Poor posture. Yes, lying, sitting, standing and walking with poor posture can put major strain on your body.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, “Several factors contribute to poor posture — most commonly, stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles and high-heeled shoes. In addition, decreased flexibility, a poor work environment, incorrect working posture, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits can also contribute to poor body positioning.”

But you can limit wear-and-tear by taking steps to improve your posture. Here are a few suggestions:

Standing posture

• Hold your chest high

• Relax your shoulders and keep them back

• Pull in your abdomen and backside

• Don’t lock your knees or tilt your head in any direction

• Balance your weight on both feet

• Keep your feet parallel

Walking posture

• Hold your head high

• Look forward, not down, and keep your chin parallel to the ground

• Lightly contract your abdominal muscles

• Slightly bend your elbows, and freely swing your arms

• Move your shoulders naturally

• Straighten and avoid arching your back

Lying posture

• Search for a mattress that is right for you

• Use a pillow when you sleep

• Don’t sleep on your stomach

• Put a pillow in between your legs if you sleep on your side

• Put a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back

Ergonomics at the office

Sitting at a desk all day can contribute to aches and pains. However, practicing good office ergonomics can help you keep your muscles and ligaments healthy.

• Adjust your chair height. You want your chair to be in a position that allows your feet to sit flat on the ground and your knees to be level with your hips. If need be, place a cushion in the small of your back while sitting in your chair. This helps with lumbar support.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Health & Fitness