There are a number of bad habits that are harmful to your posture and we’re guilty of them too! Below are the eight deadly posture sins.
The shoulder slump
This is the most common cause of bad posture. Hunching forward can result in shoulder tension, headaches and neck pain. The shoulder slump is most prominent when texting or sitting down. Dr Lauren Pienaar states that “sitting is the new smoking” since sitting for long periods of time can lead to health complications.
Sitting with your legs crossed
When your legs are crossed, your pelvis rolls forwards, causing you to lean to one side and this also places pressure on your lower back.
Sedentary behaviour can be harmful and lead to poor posture. It is important to stand up and move. A common myth is that if your back hurts you shouldn’t move but staying active is key. Head on over to Stand Up To Sitting to find out how to reduce sedentary behaviour.
When you sleep on your stomach, your neck twists to one side, creating a twist along the spine and pressure on your shoulders. Sleeping on your back or side are much better positions.
Overarching your spine can be harmful to your body and posture. Your aim is to stay in an upright position and prevent tension in your muscles and joints. Head on over to our previous post on How To: Stand to find out ways to keep your back straight.
Lifting with your back
You can end up injuring your back when lifting heavy objects. Use your legs rather than your back to lift objects, even if the object isn’t heavy.
The weight of your bag can cause you to lean on one side or can lead to back pain. Check out our blog post on backpacks to find out how to wear your bag properly.
Unequally distributed weight
When you’re sitting or standing you often find yourself leaning to one side. This puts pressure on one side of your body, causing your spine to bend in an unnatural way. Make sure you evenly distribute your weight!
Lifting Info graphic: http://comprehensivepainmanagementcenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Correct-Lifting-Posture.jpg
Sleeping Info graphic: https://www.sciencedump.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_width/public/field/gallery/tumblr_nholwgxFvp1s819puo1_1280.png?itok=dIEOA80Z
Carrying a backpack can affect your posture. It is important that students pick the right backpack for their individual fit. Choose a backpack that is comfortable and practical. Here are a few tips on carrying your backpack.
- When wearing your backpack make sure that the top of the bag is just below your shoulders and the bottom should be slightly above your waist. If this is not the case for your backpack then adjust it by tightening or loosening the straps. If your backpack is not adjusted properly then this can lead to long term back and shoulder problems.
- Be sure to use both straps, not one! If you only use one strap then this will place an uneven amount of pressure on one shoulder and cause your body alignment to change. Therefore, it is important to distribute the weight evenly. A hip strap is also useful as it redistributes the weight off the upper body.
- Don’t pack a lot of heavy items into your backpack as this just puts pressure on your shoulders and can cause you to have a hunch. If you have to carry textbooks to and from school then take regular breaks while walking to relieve some of the pressure.
- Choose backpack with several pockets, instead of one large one so that you can place items in different sections and thus distribute the weight more evenly.
- The material of your backpack is also important. It is good to choose lightweight material as it is more comfortable and won’t weigh more when there’s nothing inside the bag.
Info graphic: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/87/7e/e9/877ee9a8070b9559ba4a55e0f8055d8f.jpg
In many classrooms, students are sitting at wooden desks with chairs not suitable for their height. From a young age, children and teenagers develop postural habits, which may not be correct. The Heart Foundation conducted a study, which found that students spend around 7-9 hours a day sitting and up to five of those hours are spent sitting in the classroom or doing homework. Thus, student ergonomics needs to be more of a priority. Furthermore, textbooks are being replaced by iPads, tablets and laptops, which mean that screen time is higher and students are hunching over for longer.
Poor posture among students has been linked to decreased lung capacity, pain, headaches, depression and digestive issues. Other symptoms, which can result from improper furniture, include: pain in the neck, back and shoulders, increased fatigue, muscle imbalances and low levels of concentration, which can result in excessive fidgeting. Early intervention is pivotal and we encourage all students to be more conscious of their posture and the ergonomics of their workspace. In this electronic age, students are spending too much time doing sedentary activities but movement is essential to keep the blood flowing and help reduce poor posture.
In classrooms, height adjustable chairs and desks should be implemented as well as tilting desktops, so that students don’t have to lean or hunch over. There are many benefits associated with implementing correct ergonomics and thus an emphasis should be placed on changing student ergonomics.
Choosing the right furniture is necessary. Take a look our previous post, which looks at how to adjust your chair and body so that you are sitting upright. Next week we will be looking at backpack ergonomics and will provide tips on how to choose and carry a backpack.
Info graphic: http://www.hertzfurniture.com/school-matters/embedding-infographic
October is National Ergonomics Month!
Ergonomics involves the “process of designing or arranging workplaces, products and systems so that they fit the people who use them”.
Poor posture is caused by our everyday activities such as sitting at our desks, looking at our screens, driving, sleeping and even walking. Ergonomics is a big factor contributing poor posture and below are some tips on how to improve your workstation to improve your posture.
We spend a lot of time sitting, and thus finding the right chair is essential. Choose a chair with lumbar support so that your spine is upright and your back is comfortable. It is also important to adjust your chair to fit your height. If your chair is too high and you can’t rest your feet flat on the floor then use a footrest or a small stool or even a stack of books. Your knees should be around the same level as our hips and your wrists should be at elbow level when typing. Your keyboard should be within reach so that your arms are close to your body. When using a computer, make sure the screen is directly in front of you, so that you do not need to lean forwards or backwards or tilt your head. If you need to use the phone, try not to hold your phone between your head and neck but rather use a headset or put your phone on speaker.
Take regular breaks from sitting. Stand up and stretch or go for a walk. Moving around will keep the blood circulating and release pressure on your back and muscles.
Some signs of ergonomic injuries include: tingling or numbness in the hands, loss of coordination, discomfort or tightness in the muscles and stiffness in joints. If you are experiencing any of these then be sure to change the your workstation.
Schools and universities should adapt to the student’s needs and improve student ergonomics.
Students spend a lot of time staring at their screens, either watching TV shows, messaging their friends or just browsing the Internet and this is resulting in poor posture and other chronic diseases such as depression. It is important to take breaks, preferable every 20 minutes.
Today we are giving you a challenge to help you put down your phone and enjoy life. Go outdoors, explore, hang out with your friends or just relax without using technology.
The UNICEF Tap Project has created a challenge, where you can provide clean water for children depending on how long you go without your phone. You can open the UNICEF site on your phone browser and start the clock, if you touch your phone or pick it up the timer will stop. So the longer you go without your phone, the more you can help UNICEF and the children in need. Ten minutes without touching your phone can provide a child with clean water for a day.
People have gone for extended periods of time without their phones. Not only will this challenge test you but it will also prevent ‘text neck’ and allow you to connect with others in the outside world. So take the challenge today!
How long can you go without your phone?
Watch the video for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPbHrgAWpgM
Info graphic: http://thehigherlearning.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/tap-project.png
Recent studies have shown that yoga helps to increase well-being, reduce stress and even improve posture. Your posture influences your body alignment and overall health. Poor posture can worsen over time and lead to long-term aches and pains. A hunched posture restricts breathing and is considered a major factor of health deterioration, as you grow older. Older men and women with a hunched posture have a 44% higher death rate.
Improving your posture can help you feel better, more confident, have more energy and increase productivity. It can also prevent chronic pain, anxiety and depression. Exercise can strengthen muscles, which helps hold your body in the correct position. Exercising can also facilitate in weight loss, which also improves your posture. By getting up and moving your body this allows more oxygen to enter the brain which can enhance the growth of brain cells and help you de-stress.
Did you know that back pain is the most common health condition among young adults and close to $300 billion is spent on treatment of chronic pain?
Yoga not only strengthens specific muscles but it also improves breathing and relives back pain. Take a look below at some of the poses you can do on your own to improve your posture.
Do these yoga poses daily to notice positive changes in your overall well-being.
Are you constantly looking down at your phone, tablet or other wireless device? If so, then this may be causing damage to your neck and back.
In today’s society, with the rise in mobile technology, people are becoming addicted to their screens and are constantly hunched over. iPosture and text neck are modern age curse and is common among many.
Dr Carter, from the Australian Spinal Research Foundation states that on average “a person spends about four hours bending their necks looking at their mobile devices…and this causes a shift in spine alignment up to 4cm”. He also revealed that there is an alarming increase in the number of people who suffer from text neck and that in the last few years “over 50% of them were school-age teenager”.
These statistics are definitely alarming. We are becoming zombies, transfixed on our screens and this is detrimental not only to our posture but also for our society as we are becoming antisocial.
Some symptoms of text neck include: neck pain, soreness, muscle spasms and upper back or shoulder pain.
Here are some simple ways to prevent ‘text neck’
- Raise the phone to eye level so that your head isn’t tilted down, keep your shoulders back and maintain an upright posture
- Try performing some simple shoulder and neck stretches to keep your blood circulating and ease muscle pain.
- Avoid using your laptop or mobile phone while you’re sitting on your bed.
- Take frequent breaks, look up or just put down your mobile device.
Here’s our challenge for you!
Next time you’re out eating with friends or family, put down your phone and don’t look at it until everyone has finished their meal. Get your friends involved too and have everyone place their phones face down on the table. Enjoy having conversations with those around you and embrace your surroundings.
Taylor, M. 2015. ‘What smartphone use is doing to our teens’. Daily Telegraph. <http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/central-coast/curse-of-modern-era-warning-over-the-rapid-rise-of-text-neck-in-teens-due-to-smartphone-addiction/news-story/3c15c9cde79a0207f9536f72569bd3f9>
Image from Flickr: Creative Commons