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3 Tips to Developing Healthy Posture

Our self image and the way others view us are directly affected by our body posture.  We all have observed people who seem to draw attention and give off positive energy simply because of the confident self assured way that they carry themselves.  Conversely, poor posture is often related to poor self image.  You have probably noticed that many people with slumped posture have a tendency to look helpless, weak, and tired.  Some people seem to literally carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.  There are many causes of poor posture, including structural and biomechanical problems that should be treated by a qualified chiropractor.  Some of the possible negative effects of poor posture include muscular pain, headaches, back and neck pain, fatigue, asthma, allergies, reduced lung capacity, and reduced levels of blood and oxygen supply to the brain.

Tip 1: Strengthen Your Back Muscles 

Strengthening the muscles of the back increases the stability of the spinal column and can help prevent serious peoples caused by musculoskeletal imbalances.  By balancing the strengthening the front and the back of your body, you will have less chance of injury in your daily activities.  Musculoskeletal imbalances can also be caused or aggravated by the type of work that you do, or the type of sport that you play especially if its a one sided sport like golf, tennis, or hockey.  Fortunately, one of the most effective was to improve your posture is simply to become more aware of it.  Seeing yourself as others see you is often the first step to making improvements in your posture.

Tip 2: Evaluate Your Posture

I recommend evaluating your body in a full-length mirror from the side view.  You may even want to have a friend take a picture of your from the side.  Your correct posture when viewed from the side is as follows: your ears should be directly lined up with your shoulders, your shoulders over your hips, your hips over your knees, and your knees over the arches of your feet.  To help you become more aware of your posture, try the following exercise while standing in front of a mirror.  Imagine two gentle hands on either side of your head pulling you upright, and a light helpful hand on your back pushing your shoulder blades together.  

Tip 3: Think It Through

Often times it's helpful to think your way through good posture.  Try this: Think tall, lengthen your neck, and let your head move upward with the chin slightly in.  Breathe deeply from your stomach, pushing out your chest.  I have always loved the saying, "To be, act as if."  When you assume the body posture of a strong, energetic, and confident person, walking with a spring in your step and a smile on your face, you will find that the physiological changes also positively affect your mind and lift your spirits as well.  Taking some time to pay attention to your posture and taking care of your spine in a integral component in achieving optimal health.  

Eight Consequences of Poor Posture

1. Lack of Fitness

2. TMJ problems

3. Decreased Neck and Shoulder Range of Motion

4. Arthritis

5. Decreased Lung Capacity

6. Poor Digestion

7. Osteoporosis

8. Decreased Muscle Strength 

My favorite website for other posture strengthening exercises is http://www.straightenupamerica.org/Handouts/Handouts.html

Please call or email me if you have any questions! Posture is so important especially for our children who are sitting at desks, playing on the computer, ipad, or iphone most of the day.

Yours in health,

Dr. Brian Wallace

Adapted from Chiropractic Wellness Magazine Vol. 14 Issue 4

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