When many people think of being healthy, they worry about exercising and eating well, but we are very rarely told to take our posture into consideration. A lifetime of poor posture can affect the quality of your life as an adult. Many adults with chronic pain, which results from poor posture, can trace the problem to years of bad habits or injuries in childhood. Poor posture can limit your range of movements later on in life, lead to back problems, pain in the jaw, decrease lung capacity, affect your bowel function, cause nerve interference and make you look older than you are.
How can you improve your posture?
Keep your weight down and exercise regularly.
Buy a good, firm mattress, which will support the spine.
Pay attention to injuries, which may cause growth abnormalities or require postural adaptations to the injury.
When sitting: Use a chair with firm low back support. Keep desk or table top elbow high, adjust the chair or use a footrest to keep pressure off the back of the legs, and keep your knees a little higher than your hips. Get up and stretch frequently–every hour if you sit for long periods of time. Do not sit on a fat wallet; it can cause hip imbalance!
When working on a computer: Take a one or two minute task break every 20 minutes when you work at a computer screen. Keep the screen 15 degrees below eye level. Place reference materials on a copy stand even with and close to the terminal.
When sitting in the car: Adjust the seat forward so your knees are higher than your hips. Put a small pillow or cushion in the small of your back.
When sleeping: Sleep on your side with your knees bent and head supported by a pillow to make your head level with your spine. Or, sleep on your back, avoiding thick pillows under your head. Use a small pillow under your neck instead. Don’t sleep on your stomach.
When lifting: Let your legs do the work in order to prevent injury to your low back. Stand close to the object, then where possible squat down and straddle it. Grasp the object, and slowly lift the load by straightening your legs as you stand up. Carry the object close to your body.
When bending: Never twist from the waist and bend forward at the same time. To lift or reach something on the floor, bend the knees while keeping the back straight.
Mrs. Claudia Brito
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