Have you ever thought why your mother always told you to ‘stop slouching, pull your shoulders back and sit up straight’? She knows that poor posture makes a bad first impression, but is there is also a lot more to this old wives tale…
Of course good posture LOOKS NICE, but its real importance is much more than cosmetic. What most people fail to notice is that your posture is merely a reflection of your spine; if your posture is crooked on the outside, chances are it’s because your spine is crooked on the inside.
So who cares if I have a crooked spine? Well the first problem with the spine being crooked is that the joints wear quicker, like a car tyre that is out of alignment. This explains why the most common areas of spinal wear and tear (also known as degenerative arthritis) is the base of the neck and bottom of the back- also the most common places for imbalance of the spine.
The second problem is the structure housed within the spine – the SPINAL CORD – which is the communication highway that connects our brain (the master controller) with every cell, tissue and organ in our body. Millions of instructions are sent along this highway every second to keep you alive and healthy.
Any imbalance in our spine (& therefore our posture) represents a breakdown in nerve flow, shutting down your body’s ability to be healthy.
What can you do about it? To start with, have a look at your own posture, either in the mirror, take a photo or get someone else to assess you.
When looking from the front, ideal spinal alignment and posture will mean you are balanced from left to right. Look at the level of your ears, shoulders, hips, hands, and look at the gap between your arm and your body. Are the two sides even?
From the side, ideal spine and posture is when your ear, shoulder, hip and ankle are in one vertical line. A very common posture and spinal imbalance is the ‘hunch’ or forward head posture (ear forward of the shoulder). Forward head posture may lead to many health problems ranging from arthritis, neck pain, arm problems, headaches, fatigue, sinus issues, low back problems and much more.
It is no surprise that the latest research from the University of Toronto, found that people who slouch have an increased sensitivity to pain, and by improving their posture, people feel more powerful, in control and able to tolerate more distress.
Many people get a shock when they first look at their posture and can’t believe how bad it is. Think of this, if you went to the dentist for the first time today, and you never knew about looking after you teeth (never brushing, flossing, dental checkups); what do you think your teeth would look like?
When is the best time to start looking after your spine and nervous system? Just like exercising and eating, the sooner we begin good habits, the better quality of life we can enjoy now, and it massively increases our chances of being as vibrant and healthy as possible for as long as possible.
Remember better health is only ONE choice away. Make a choice today to improve your posture.