The hectic lives that we live especially since a lot of it consists of sitting for long periods of time is one of the major reasons why most people have poor posture. Statistics show that 85% of people at some stage in life will experience back or neck pain. This pain that comes on is generally due to bad posture.
Bad posture results in excess stress on the neck and strain on the back, which can further increase pain and discomfort. In order to correct poor posture a number of lifestyle and ergonomic changes can be corrected to help improve the position of your body. Here we will discuss some of the common bad habits that are responsible for a poor posture.
Carrying heavy purses and back packs on one Shoulder
Carrying heavy loads on either shoulder seems to be the general way to carry a bag these days, but can have a significantly negative effect on your back. The bags most people carry are heavy enough without putting most of the load on just one side of your spine.
Carrying the entire weight of laptop, books and other accessories on one shoulder, can lead to a strain in the shoulders and eventually cause back pain. This shift in weight can lead to an imbalance that causes one shoulder to be higher than the other or forward rolling of the shoulders due to muscle overactivity. Carrying your bag on both shoulders can distribute the weight more evenly and reduce the chance of changing your posture for the worse.
Many women like to ignore the bitter truth that high-heels can cause severe back problems and may lead to a poor posture. High heels affect the natural position of the body as they cause your body weight to be transferred towards the top of your foot leading to an anterior shift in your body weight. This can lead to an increase in the tilting of your pelvis leading to an increased curve in the lower back.
Wearing flat shoes causes a more even weight distribution throughout the foot and can help in maintaining correct posture and reducing the chance of back problems. Soft sole shoes are always a good choice since they can be used as shock absorbers to reduce pressure going into your hips and back when walking and running.
Leaning on one leg when standing
Leaning on one leg when standing for long periods of time is all too common. It feels comfortable but the problem is it shifts more pressure to one side of your lower back. This in turn leads to postural changes because the added pressure causes a tilting in your pelvis giving the perception of having a ‘short leg’ or one hip being higher than the other. You can avoid this issue by making sure to stand flat on both feet to evenly distribute weight through both legs. Dividing the weight of the body equally on both legs will help in strengthening your back and improves any tilting in your hips.
Looking down at your Mobile
How much time do you spend looking down at your phone. With the advances in technology over the last 10 years or mobile and tablet use has increased significantly. This forces us to be constantly looking down.
This is one of the common reasons why our posture is changing for the worst. Constantly looking down at our phone causes our head to progressively drop forward until your head naturally sits in a forward position. Looking down at your phone for long periods also increases tension on your neck and shoulders leading to pain and discomfort. You can reduce the chances of this forward head posture developing my first of all minimizing the time you look down at your phone as well as trying to hold the phone up so it remains in your eyeline without you having to bring your neck down.
Sleeping on your Stomach
Sleeping positions can be the hardest to change but they can play a significant role in changing your posture.
If you are stomach sleeper, then you should try stop it at once to avoid both changes to your posture as well as lower back problems. Sleeping on your stomach causes compressions of the joints in your lower back leading to an increase of the curve in your lower back. This curvature increase can lead to an increased tilt in your pelvis leading to muscle imbalances where some muscles become overactive causing underactive muscles in other areas. To prevent this postural change from occurring you’re much better of sleeping on your side or if this is too uncomfortable, on your back since this decreases the pressure you put on your joints.
Poor posture is never something that changes in a snap of your fingers but if you can alter your normal daily activities you can progressively change it for the better by using some of the tips above. If you ever have any concerns about your posture or pain that it may be causing always contact a professional health practitioner first.
Janice Cook is a health practitioner and part-time blogger in Australia. She loves to write about health and fitness that encourages people to live a healthy life.