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Posture and Health
06/09/2003

Did you know the way you stand, sit and move has a direct correlation to your health? According to the American Chiropractic Association  (ACA), poor posture begins a chain reaction throughout the body and can result in weak muscles, stressed joints, poor eyesight, weight problems, fatigue and injuries. Poor posture can also led to more progressive damage to the respiratory, circulatory and digestive systems.

It takes more energy to slump or hold your body in an awkward position than it does to position yourself properly. Posture is an important component to a healthy lifestyle just as eating healthy and exercising.

In the United States, musculoskeletal conditions cost society an estimated $254 billion every year. Plus, one out of every seven Americans reports a musculoskeletal impairment.

You can improve your posture and increase your body’s ability to function optimally. The ACA offers the following advice for improving and maintaining your musculoskeletal health.

At the office:

  • Make sure your chair fits correctly. There should be two inches between the front of the seat and the back of your legs. Sit with your feet flat on the floor, with your knees at a 90-degree angle. If you can’t sit that way, use an angled or elevated footrest.
  • Take periodic stretch breaks.  Also, take breaks and alternate tasks that use different muscle groups.
  • Hold the telephone with your hand or use the speakerphone. Don’t cradle the phone between your ear and shoulder. This can lock up the spinal joints in the neck and upper back, and eventually cause pain. 
  • Arrange your desk so that everything is handy – phone, mouse, reference materials, reports – to minimize awkward stretching and reaching.
  • Position your computer monitor so that the middle of your chin is aligned with the middle of your monitor. This will allow for good neck posture.

At home:

  • When you was dishes, open the cabinet beneath the sink, bend one knee and put your foot on the shelf under the sink. Lean against the counter so some of your weight is supported in front.
  • When resting or watching TV, don’t use the sofa arm as a pillow. The angle is much too sharp for the neck.
  • Don’t bend from the waist when you lift a child. Squat with your back straight. Keep the child close to you and use your legs and arms to lift.

Like most things, good posture has to be practiced before it becomes automatic. The next time you slump when you walk or plop down in a chair, reconsider your approach and improve your health.

Talk to your physician for additional tips on improving your posture and preventing musculoskeletal problems.

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