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Posture

Posture refers to sitting, lying down and standing. Here is how the body works in a perfect world. The spine is the backbone of your skeletal structure - literally. It helps to balance out and distribute the weight of your body. The natural position of the spine as seen from the side is a gentle curve at the top and bottom. It resembles the letter “S.”

In this position, the head is positioned directly atop the vertebrae of the neck, with shoulders square to the spine and the pelvis pulled forward. Not too many of us stand or sit that way.

When the body is out of alignment, certain complications result. For one, a lack of even weight distribution between both feet puts pressure on the muscles of the lower back to compensate. This can strain them and lead to chronic pain in that area.

During the sitting position, you are simply bending at the waist but maintaining the same alignment. All too often, we tend to lean forward when we sit at a computer or at a desk to write. That forward shift of the head strains the muscles of the neck and shoulders.

For the midsection, slouching in this position pushes the abdominal muscles out and compresses the internal organs. Poor posture can lead to digestive issues and bowel trouble, not to mention a change in your general shape. No one wants their tummy to pooch out in the front.

Lying down in poor posture can lead to wakefulness at night and poor sleeping habits. The head needs to maintain the same alignment so that your airway is unobstructed. Also, difficult positions in sleep can lead to numbness, pain and tingling in the extremities. Let’s not even mention the bad back.

So what do you do to correct this? Practice makes perfect and so does the proper accessories. First, investigate your shoes. Shoes can wear unevenly due to improper alignment. Changing your footwear can help you to correct your posture as you walk and stand.

Use ergonomic tools at work and at home. For office chairs, the lower curvature of the spine is maintained while sitting with a small roll pillow at the lower back. Raise your chair so that your elbows are at right angles to the desk as you type.

Sleep on a neck pillow especially created to maintain alignment. They look funny, but they will give you a good night’s sleep and protect your spine. Sleep on your back instead of your stomach to prevent arching of the back and neck.

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