Straighten Up & Sharpen Up: Posture!
From the New Parent to the Corporate Executive: How can YOU take care of your posture?
Ever feel like you just get stuck in one position for too long? In this fast paced lifestyle it is literally part of life. Whether it’s the hour plus commute glued to the seat of a car, playing mum’s taxi to the tribe’s myriad of after school commitments, the eight hours spent attached to a desk, when bub seems permanently attached to the hip or mum is slumped over in the feeding position. Over 1/3rd of adults days is spent either in the office, in the commute or for many parents “work” is a much longer day than just 8 hours. The stresses and strains of long days, awkward positions, postural and muscular fatigue certainly play a toll on your body, wearing you down and literally wearing you out. Just think how this could affect your posture…
Two of the main ways that everyday life can act as a burden your body is:
- Physical stress
- Emotional stress
In 2014-15 physical or musculoskeletal stress accounted for 43,555 workers compensation claims.
This came at a huge financial cost too. According to Safework Australia, in 2012–13, work-related injury and disease cost the Australian economy $61.8 billion. But the even scarier part is that 77% of the costs involved was taken on by the individual workers involved. So even if you think work place injury is your workplace’s fault, it might cost you a lot more than them. Similarly for mum at home even if she could file workers compensation for fatigue or baby brain, the payout would in no way cover the years of parental abuse….. So regardless of where of how an injury occurred, there’s a great chance that you will pay the vast majority of the costs.
If you’ve ever been physically injured you are probably very aware of the mental impact this has too. For the Corporate Executive, not being able to contribute at work can take away their perceived sense of value. The student can feel lost if they can’t apply themselves and there are well documented links between the Unemployed and Depression. This too can parallel with stay at home mum, sore, tired and fatigued, the worry of doing enough or contributing enough can be emotionally draining. Here pain and disability can take away our ability to contribute leaving us feeling lost and isolated.
As a society, we search for meaning. Freud may have argued we are constantly searching for happiness, but I agree with Viktor Frankl who says, Man’s search for Meaning is the greatest purpose we have.
So how can we minimise the chance of injury?
At Transitions Chiropractic, outside of checking and adjusting your spine for any sites of imbalance and helping the body restore the balance from the inside out, the next best thing is monitoring and improving posture. We are running Postural Awareness and Strengthening sessions in our King Street office however, we are more than happy to bring these sessions to your office too. Contact us to find out more.
Posture is absolutely vital. Posture has been shown to :
- Improve breathing and heart rate
- Minimise/prevent overuse injuries
- Improve and increase mood
- Increase ability to connect and communicate
- Improve focus and concentration
- Increases physical attractiveness
- Improve metabolism
Your posture is something that you can control. You were born with an amazing ability to be upright, balanced and stable and I believe that you still have that programmed and hardwired within you. Whether at home, nursing bub, scrambling the corporate ladder or wedged into the car seat you can still control your posture. But how can we change our posture?
Like anything in life- you get what you pay for so in this instance your results are a result of the time and effort you put in. Consistency matters when trying to change anything- don’t worry about being perfect straight away instead try to train in microdoses. The Japanese Kaisen principle of small steps to incremental improvement is a brilliant approach. We’ve put together our own Transitions Chiropractic 30 day Postural Challenges on top of the Postural Awareness and Strengthening Workshops we are running in our office or yours. We believe we can help improve your posture. Stay tuned to find out more about our 30 day Postural Challenges, but for now here are the tips for improving your posture:
Top 6 tips for improving your Sitting Posture:
- Step 1: Sit TALL.
- Aim to keep the spine as upright as possible and ideally don’t be reliant on the back rest. The more you can use your muscles to hold you upright the more you can protect your spine.
- Step 2: Keep your knees slightly LOWER than your hips.
- This opens up your hips allowing them to roll forward slightly, stopping you from falling back into a slouched position. It also minimises any stress and strain on you hamstrings.
- Step 3: Keep your feet FLAT on the ground in FRONT of you.
- This saves your calf and hamstring muscles from shortening up meaning it is easier to walk if you have sat for too long. If your feet are flat and parallel, then you are also minimising any unnecessary wear and tear on your knees or hips.
- Step 4: Have your desk and keyboard AT or JUST BELOW elbow height.
- This way your shoulders can stay relaxed.
- Step 5 a (for the office workers): Keep the keyboard CLOSE.
- This allows your back to stay upright and minimises stress and strain on the neck, upper back and shoulders that can happen from overreaching.
- Step 5 b (for breastfeeding and nursing mums): Watch your WRISTS.
- Constant bending and flexing your wrists to support bub’s neck is extremely tough. When possible try to keep your wrists and forearms aligned & straight, otherwise these little muscles and joints will fatigue way too quickly.
- Step 7: Have the computer screen set up at EYE LEVEL.
- Appropriate screen height and distance makes it easier to maintain an upright posture. It decreases the muscular strain especially throughout your upper neck, back and shoulders.
Top 5 tips for improving your Standing Posture:
- Step 1: Stand TALL.
- Nail this and nothing else matters. Aim for 60 second blasts of an erect perfect posture every 30’.
- Step 2: Keep a light BOUNCE in your knee.
- Allowing your legs to work as a shock absorber.
- Step 3: Keep weight EVEN on both legs.
- Prevents excess stress and strain on the knees, hips & lower back.
- Step 4: Keep head INLINE with shoulders.
- Reduces the stress and strain on your neck.
- Step 5: Maintain EXTENSOR TONE.
- “Turning on” the muscles between your shoulder blades, glute’s and quads makes it easier to stand upright. This links directly to the coordination region of your brain- you’ll be smarter for it too.
If there’s any more information or advice you are looking for on this we are always here to help. If you want to improve you posture consider these 4 final thoughts:
- Chiropractic can help change the exisiting nerve and muscle patterns that keep dragging you back into poor posture.
- We have postural awareness and strengthening workshops in the office 2 x each week. If you’d like Transitions Chiropractic can come to your office, to check and assess your work set up or perform an in house workshop that can be arranged.
- You CAN change your posture. You were born upright, balanced and stable and as Henry Ford says, “whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”
- Change doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Use the tips below and try microdosing your improvement. As Pantene used to say, “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.”
Hopefully you have found this useful, feel free to comment and share any tips and tricks that you have. Please share this with your amazing family, tribe and co workers and start creating change today!!