Posture is a kind of unconscious aspect of our lives. If we were to define it in strictly technical terms, it is the position that the body takes in relation to the natural force of gravity. We do not realize that we sit or stand or sleep in a wrong manner unless pointed at by others or unless we experience some kind of physical discomfort.
The reason why most fitness experts and individuals are concerned about rectifying posture mistakes is because it is associated with height. A hunched back or rounded shoulders does not only make you short in the literal sense, it also makes you appear short. This article touches upon the relationship between posture and height – how it affects it and how you can remedy the problem.
How does posture affect health and height?
- It stresses the respiratory system by crowding the lungs and heart.
- It may cause swelling in the pelvis and legs as it exerts pressure on the circulatory system.
- It causes structural deformation manifested in the form of a hunched back and rounded or dropping shoulders.
- The structural deformities lead to mild – moderate pain.
- It might also increase the risk of osteoarthritis and herald the early onset of bone degeneration.
Steps to Improve your Posture
- Standing Posture:
It starts with correcting your stance. Many believe that unlike a sitting or sleeping position it is difficult to correct one’s stance as it comes naturally to us while the former can be learned and corrected. It is difficult but not impossible and can be adopted with practice. Observe a side profile of your body in the mirror. If you notice the shoulders drooping, you should change your posture. When you walk, walk with your head held high, a straight back and upright shoulders. When you stand or sit, your shoulders should be in line with your hips.
- Sitting Posture:
Given our dependence on technology in modern times, we spend most our time sitting either bent over our computers or craning our necks in front of our smartphones. Hence, the next position that needs assessment and correction is the sitting posture.
The paraphernalia – the monitor, keyboard, mouse, table and chair should be placed such that it encourages an upright posture. The table should be at a comfortable height while the chair should provide optimum back support. We do not realize it, but the entire system of muscles, ligaments, tissues and nerves is connected from the neck straight down our back. Any pressure from top to bottom or vice-versa disturbs the natural structure. The natural curves of the back act as shock absorbers. Hence, you should support this curve on the lower back either by placing a rolled towel or readymade lumbar support between the back and the backrest.
In addition to the steps listed above, you should perform stretching exercises. Stretching exercises elongate and strengthen the spinal cord and other muscles and bones that add height. You should also perform exercises that will strengthen the abdominal muscles. Stronger core muscles will strengthen and maintain spinal alignment. After longer hours of sitting or standing, flex the muscles.
- Sleeping Posture:
Pillows help greatly to maintain good posture when sleeping. Use a pillow to support your head when you sleep on your back or side. When sleeping on your side, you can also place a pillow between your legs.
An improved posture will not only increase height but also improve overall general health. So, give up your bad habits today and live a healthier, taller life.