"For each of us there is some mission in life if we but find it. All have some definite thing to do, something for which they have been created; and only the doing of this thing will justify their existence here on earth. If we come into the world and occupy space and time without giving back for this privilege, we have not justified ourselves, and our lives in the end are barren." ~ Hay

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pay Attention to your Posture

The older I get, the more I seem to slump.  I need to “check” myself throughout the day to make sure my body is in correct alignment.  I ask that you do the same.  Today, we spend many hours in front of a computer screen.  Let me ask you to examine yourself as you read this.  Are your feet firmly placed on the ground?  Are you sitting up straight in your chair?  If not, “sit up straight!”  Correct your posture.  It is not good for your spine to be sitting hours on end with your shoulders rounded.  If you are sitting in a room with others, take a look at them.  Are they slouched in their chairs?  If you want a good lesson in how not to sit, examine the people around you.  Make a mental note of what you see.
In the good old days, our Mother used to tell us to “sit up straight.”   For some of us, this conjures up bad memories.  As children, we didn’t like being told what to do.  As adults, we like it even less.  However we need to learn what’s best for us and incorporate it into our daily routine.  Why is checking your posture important?  Here are some reasons:
1.       Good posture and health are interdependent.  Physical ills sometimes vanish when posture is corrected.  Among these troubles is backache, which can be caused by muscular strain.
2.       Good posture facilitates deep breathing, which contributes to better over-all health. 
3.       Good posture protects the spine.  If we do not sit or stand in a straight position, this can restrict our blood vessels and nerves which can lead to problems of the joints, discs or muscles.
4.      Good posture eliminates “rounded shoulders.”  Rounded shoulders can lead to compression of the chest which can cramp the heart and lungs and over crowd the digestive and other functional organs of the body.
5.      Good posture makes a better impression on others.  For example, would you hire the person who is slouched in a chair during an interview or a person who is sitting up straight?  If an interviewee is slumped over that person can be read as self-conscious, shy or discouraged verses the person who sits straight up, which can be seen as confident, poised and dynamic. 
What is the proper position of the body for perfect posture?  Here is a description from MacFadden’s Encyclopedia. 
“The shoulders should be back, the abdomen should not be drawn in as is commonly recommended.  It should be relaxed and perfectly free to move outward and inward as the breath is inhaled and exhaled.  There should be no strain in any part.”

Picture from MacFadden's Encyclopedia - Correct Posture
For today, pay close attention to your posture when you are seated especially in front of the computer.   In addition, make a mental note to throw your shoulders back and stand up straight as you perform routine daily tasks.  Remember repetition leads to habit.  By adjusting yourself daily, you will see an improvement not only in your posture but in your overall health and well-being. 

Macfadden, Bernarr,  “Macfadden’s Encyclopedia of Physical Culture,” Macfadden Publications, Inc., New York 1928


Mark Kauffman said...

Yes! I remember years ago noticing that my feet were pointing all over the place as I walked and so I made a conscious effort to keep them straight and pointing forward so that now it's just a natural way for me to walk. I'm sure that must have made an important difference 30 years later!

Thank you for the reminder.

Christine (Inner Beauty Workshops) said...

You are correct Mark! Once we make a conscious effort to improve, the benefits are astounding...

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