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Noticing your Posture

What is the first thing that other people notice about you? Some might say that it is your smile but it is more likely your posture. Your posture is the window to your spine and the fingerprint of your overall health.

By John Jaskot and Juliana Haddad Jaskot

How you carry yourself either standing or sitting reflects a great deal about you. Your confidence, your mood, your energy are all reflected in your posture. Most people think they have decent posture, but poor posture is so prevalent that it is now perceived as normal and innocent, while it can quietly erode certain aspects of health.

Younger children start with the innate ability to sit with ease and with perfect posture. However, between the ages of 3 to 5 they start losing the ability to do so. To make matters worse, children today are more sedentary than past generations in part due to the technical revolution of video games, computers, t.v.’s., PDA’s, phones, etc. With the lack of proper ergonomics and excellent modelling of their parents and siblings, they learn to develop poor postural habits.

Unfortunately, these poor habits can become engrained quickly. That is why it is more important to address poor posture in the early years before its powerful and aggressive detrimental habitual states are entrenched.

Have you checked your children’s posture lately? Bad adult postures that have been reinforced since childhood are responsible for many ailments progressively experienced with ageing.

Poor posture increases pressure on the spinal discs and joints. It also leads to excessive tension in the muscles and is often responsible for common ailments such as headache, back pain and fatigue. These common problems progress with age and can eventually lead to early degeneration of the spine. Studies show that with every inch of the head (which weighs about 12-16 lbs.) hanging forward ahead of the body, the tension in the neck increases 10X. It is common to see people with their heads forward 4-6 inches in front of the shoulders.

Bad posture influences the way your body works on the inside too. Slouching creates excessive pressure in the chest and abdominal areas leading to less efficient organ functions including poor circulation, breathing, digestion, concentration and mood. Imagine a lifetime of compromised breathing. This inefficient state thwarts your optimum capacity to function leading to accelerated and premature ill health and ageing. Studies show that better posture leads to less health issues, less need for drugs or surgeries and most importantly, a prolonged quality of life.

By simply correcting your posture you will immediately feel more confident, happier and more energetic. As an example, take a deep breath while you are in a slouched position. Try it again while you are sitting up straight. Your lung capacity to take in a deep breath increases with better posture.

One thing most people are not aware of though, is that over a lifetime, these positive effects will continuously reward you. People will start to pay more attention to you when you are sitting or standing with purpose and confidence. You will feel empowered and your self-esteem will improve. Did you know that you can look 10 years younger by simply straightening up your posture? It’s a free and instant makeover!

We are constantly interacting with gravity in daily adaptation to our ergonomic environment whether we are in commute, at work, home or school. Poorly designed chairs, couches, benches and car seats are constantly reinforcing slouched postures. Our bodies must work overtime in order to adapt.

So what is the solution?

The entire back is in its neutral position when a person is standing straight and relaxed. Maintaining this standing shape of the spine when sitting down and supporting it with the Logicback custom adjustable lumbar support is the solution. Ideal ergonomic sitting position of the spine is the same as the relaxed standing shape. (Refer to figure 1.)

In this position a person can sit optimally with decreased risk of back pain, neck pain and cumulative tension. This concept is easy to accept for some and very difficult for others. It also takes time, practice and positive reinforcement to adopt as the new normal habit.

Being aware of your posture and knowing how to correct it is the first step towards a healthier spine and a life of ease.

So remember to check your posture, because others do.

Dr. John Jaskot and Dr. Juliana Haddad Jaskot have been in practice for over 20 years and provide ergonomic office assessments as well as clinical spinal and postural evaluations. They can be reached at: Thornhill Chiropractic & Wellness Centre, 905-886-9778.

www.chiro-docs.com, info@chiro-docs.com. www.logicback.com