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How to Establish Good Posture for Life

Good posture isn't about good manners anymore; it's about establishing a healthy lifestyle. Poor posture can become permanent. Indeed, the unhealthy habits of youth can inform the body's growth for years to come. Good posture is not necessary given the respect it deserves in today's popular culture.

Let's break "posture" down
The form our bodies take while standing, lying down, and sitting is what we call posture. Muscle tension versus gravity — when the body can properly support itself, in alignment, good posture is possible. We control our bodies through posture, which is essentially the employment of muscles that helps us to be upright.

We are not always aware of our posture; our bodies can rely upon muscle memory to propel ourselves. The two muscle groups most responsible for healthy posture are the lower back and the hamstrings. The skeleton, which is held together by ligaments, still needs the muscles to resist gravity. Ligaments are, themselves, too weak to carry out movement alone. During movement, the postural muscles act to assist the body's balance and position.

Good posture is helpful:
By demonstrating healthy posture, we are able to stand, walk, lie down, and sit in ways that reduce the amount of stress upon the body during weight-bearing movements.

Good posture assists the body as it calls upon the muscles to support its natural movements. The joints, thereby are less likely to rub and abrade against one another — something that can cause great pain and sometimes degenerative arthritis. Similarly, general pressure on the spinal joints can be ameliorated in this way, leading to fewer injuries. General muscle strain and back pain can also be avoided this way, as your body works far more efficiently when it assumes good posture, bypassing fatigue and overuse issues.

Good posture requires suitable muscles and joints: you must be strong enough throughout your body, but particularly in the muscles surrounding your vertebral column. In addition, all of your joints should be able to operate through a full range of motion. Mindfulness is also key, as you must maintain awareness as your body slips in and out of viable, stable postures.

The drawbacks of improper posture:
You can unnecessarily strain your muscles with poor posture; conversely, a particular stance, when held for a long time, may relax them. People who, as a result of their work, find themselves bending often at the waist can attest to this issue. Injury is common among people in this particular situation.

Stiff muscles, wearing high-heeled shoes, stress, pregnancy, obesity and weak postural muscles are common causes of poor posture. You can also get bad posture from habitual poor posture situations at work or sitting and standing, or simply low flexibility.

Ideal sitting practice:

  • Rest your feet either on the floor or on an object like a foot rest at an appropriate height.
  • Don't let yourself cross your legs, and make sure you knees are behind your ankles.
  • Reserve a little space for your knees — don't sit so far back that they abut the seat.
  • Your knees should stay level with or under the height of your hips.
  • If you don't receive adequate mid and low back support from your chair, try slipping a pad or pillow behind you.
  • Forearms parallel to the floor, permit your shoulders to relax.
  • Intermittently, make a change in how you're sitting.

Ideal standing posture:

  • Your weight should rest firmly on the balls of your feet, for the most part.
  • Your knees should keep a gentle bend.
  • At shoulder width apart, your feet should be planted firmly.
  • Your arms should be at your sides, hanging effortlessly.
  • You should stand straight and tall, your shoulders held back.
  • Your stomach should be tucked in.
  • Your head should keep a position of delicate balance, centered, with the earlobes in line with the shoulders. This keeps your muscles from unnecessarily supporting the weight of your head.
  • If you find yourself standing for a great deal of time, be aware that you should shift your weight back and forth between heel and toe, as well as between your left and right feet.

Here's how to recline:

  • Get a mattress that provides you with the most comfort. Though a lot of specialists tout the merit of firm mattresses, a soft mattress that ameliorates your pain may be best for you.
  • Also, select an appropriate pillow. Perhaps you would benefit from one designed to specifically correct postural issues in sleep.
  • Do not let yourself sleep facing down.
  • Back pain can be ameliorated by sleeping on your back or side.
  • A pillow placed between your legs is important if you sleep on your side.
  • If on your back, you should put a pillow securely under your knees.

Can I still correct posture problems at my age?
You can always fix poor posture, though for better or for worse, your joints determine their shape and function based on their surroundings. This means that it can take as long or longer to fix bad posture as it did to acquire it. To make headway, you must commit to a consistent vigilance over your posture, as well as enough discipline to actually make the necessary changes to it. Only then will you see predictable progress.

A chiropractor can tell you precisely what to do — perhaps including specially-designed core workouts — to improve your posture. Importantly, a chiropractor can also guide you through such exercises to inform you about potential dangers and benefits in doing them in precise ways.

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