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Good Posture, Great Health!

By Donna Stark

For many of us, we have seen the picture that portrays an older person bent over at the hips with a curved spine and walking with a cane. It seems like that is the classic representation of old-age, and is often brought up when we talk about the importance of good posture. Perhaps when you were growing up, your mother used to say, "You don't want to end up like your great-grandma ... so sit up straight!" Well, whether you had a great-grandma that struggled with her posture or not, your mom couldn't have been more right when she kept telling you to sit up straight! Posture is one of the key secrets to good health and is fundamentally just as important as a healthy diet, quality sleep, and daily exercise.

The Benefits to Your Overall Health

Good posture isn't just about looking like a ballerina when you walk, it's also about living a healthy and long life. Let's take a look at how the practice of correct posture can affect your overall health.

  • Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment
  • Decreases the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces
  • Decreases the stress on your body's ligaments
  • Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions (remember that great-grandma?)
  • Reduces back pain
  • Reduces the intensity and frequency of headaches
  • Increases energy, prevents fatigue
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Improves circulation and digestion

Developing New Habits

Attaining good posture may require some intentionality, focus, and a little bit of extra effort. Are you wondering what you can do other than to "sit up straight" to improve your posture? Here are some suggestions that may be able to help.

  • Do yoga and Pilates - The many different positions in yoga and Pilates are designed to help improve your posture
  • Swim - Swimming helps to strengthen and stretch your core, and that is a great way to correct your bad posture or maintain the good posture you already have
  • Uncross your legs - Sitting for long periods of time with your legs crossed can cause your pelvis to rotate and tilt, leading to a misaligned spine
  • Pull back your shoulders - Your shoulders are the foundation to good posture, so focus on keeping them in the correct position
  • Get up and move - One easy way to improve your posture is to stay physically active, so be sure to get your daily exercise in
  • Avoid text neck - Dropping your chin to your chest while hunched over your cell phone is significantly impacting your posture, and not in a good way, so aim for proper head position while using your device

Your Mom was Right

Carrying yourself like a ballerina sure does look good and is a great reason to practice better posture, but an even more important reason for focusing on how you hold your body is the healthier life you can create for yourself. So go ahead and listen to your mom ... sit up straight and work on your posture!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Franklin, Tenn.

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