How many times have you looked down at your phone today? How many hours have you sat at the computer or leaned over the counter or slouched in the seat of your car today? All these postures put you into flexion, which creates unnecessary pressure on your spine and excess stress on your muscles and connective tissue. This forward-leaning posture can, and will, make you look like an old man or woman before your time. It may cause undue strain and stress even on your child’s body, leading to early health issues like headaches, backaches, and poor breathing. So, look up. Get up. Opening up your chest and relaxing your shoulders goes a long way towards improving and maintaining a balanced posture.
When you have a balanced posture, movement is easier. When the four curves of your spine are balanced, studies show that this creates an effortless, non-fatiguing posture that is painless to the individual. When you remain in the same position for hours at a time, you create postural overload on your muscles and connective tissue, which, over time, will lead to adaptive shortening. This is the chronic stiffness, tightness, and restrictive movement seen in your parents and grandparents, in your peers, and in early signs found in your children’s posture, since they are emulating you.
Your posture also reflects your self-esteem, your confidence, and your strength. Inefficient and poor posture robs you of performing at your best, with side effects of fatigue, loss of flexibility and agility. Uneven wear and tear on your joints, which can lead to arthritis, also occurs with imbalance and restriction, so you cannot ignore the basic laws of the universe and expect to perform at maximum capacity. Your goal must be to increase your awareness of how you move through space and to pay attention to how you move, sit, stand, lift, work, and play. Doing this will help you improve your quality of life and decrease your risk of injury. Stay healthy.
By Benjamin Griffes, M.A. D.C.
Dr. Benjamin Griffes lives in Thousand Oaks and practices in both Tarzana and Thousand Oaks. He has been the team chiropractor for high school volleyball, basketball, and track, as well as collegiate cycling.