Tips for Developing Good Posture

;If you’re like the average student, you probably end up sitting a bit more than nine hours a day.  The average person spends 9.3 hours a day sitting and the average student spends 4-6 hours a day on the computer; which can be counterproductive to developing good posture.
We’re now learning that sitting is likely to have some damaging effects on your overall health.  Sitting for long periods of time can increase your mortality rate exponentially.  It also puts stress on your spine that restricts respiration and compresses organs that were designed to function best while you are upright and in motion; which is normally the correct body position for good posture.
Your body is highly plastic and molds to the activities that you do most often.  Continuing to reach forward (at the computer, in the car, picking up kids) without reaching back in the opposite direction to exercise the muscles that hold them up, creates imbalances and faulty posture.
Sitting with poor posture stimulates a sympathetic, “fight-or-flight” state that creates an increase in daily C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein is produced in the liver and rises when there is inflammation throughout the body. This can significantly slow metabolism, negatively impact our cardiovascular health, immunity and digestion. Here are some suggestions that can help develop good posture:
  • Sit Less: Think creatively about how many ways you can “sit” throughout the day. In addition to getting up at least every half hour, think about using different types of “chairs” that may encourage you to move, such as a workout ball or even yoga furniture.
  • The use of visual cues: Have someone take a picture of you in a good posture stance. Place that picture on your desk or even tape it to the computer monitor. It can help you create change through constant reinforcement.
  • Improve workplace ergonomics:  Sit up straight and align your ears, shoulders, and hips. Any single position for a prolonged period of time, even a good one, will be tiring. Avoid unbalanced postures such as crossing legs unevenly while you are sitting, leaning to one side, hunching the shoulders forward or tilting your head.
  • Move better, more frequently: Try to avoid slouching or slumping. Exercises and therapy such as; chiropractic, pilates, tai-chi, yoga, and can help to improve movement, as well as strengthen your back and shoulder muscles.
  • Limit Spinal Strain: Decrease the pressure placed on your spine while sitting by using footrests, portable lumbar back supports, a towel or small pillow which can be used while in an office chair or even when driving.  Make sure you wear proper corrective eyewear, position your computer screen to your natural, resting eye position which can help to avoid leaning or straining your neck.
Developing good posture will require dedication, effort, and time. Learning to relax your muscles and correct your posture will be very beneficial to your overall health.
About the Author
Dr. Kristi Perillo-Okeke, has been teaching as an Allied Health Instructor for over two years at Bryant & Stratton College. She is a licensed chiropractor, has mentored several new instructors and loves teaching human anatomy & physiology.

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