- Exercise & Fitness
Improving ones posture
Being very tall, early in my life I subconsciously would slouch down to be at the level of my peers. Through the years I’ve walked around with a slight slouch. It has never bothered me and it has been comfortable but lately it has started to cause mid back problems. After medical investigations that lead to nothing serious my GP referred me to a physiotherapist. After asking me about my symptoms and a little feel of my back I was told that the pain was due to bad posture. So the goal was to improve my posture which will in turn get rid of the pain. What a challenge.
Because I’ve been hunched for years, straightening my back and trying to stay in that position is uncomfortable. A straight back is the way we are supposed to be but because my muscles that support a straight back haven’t been working it has began to cause pain. It gets worse before it gets better, right? The pain shouldn’t be unbearable but when you change your posture to what you are not used to, it will cause some discomfort.
So what are my challenges to improve the pain and create good posture?
The first is to remind myself to sit up straight and to walk straight. I’m only on day two and it’s been a challenge. The physiotherapist gave some good tips, he said place a little note on your computer to remind yourself to sit up straight. It has to be something you have to keep reminding yourself to do. So far so good but a little more pain in my back. It is going to take getting used to as this has not been my normal position in years.
Second – I’ve been given a few simple exercises to follow to help relax the muscles around the spine.
Sit on a chair with you feet firmly on the ground, cross your arms across your chest. Turn your from your waist to the left as far as you can go and stay in that position for about 30 seconds then turn to your right and hold again for thirty seconds. I do this twice, but I also make sure I do it very gently.
Stay in the same position, this time you can use an umbrella or a broomstick and place it across your shoulders. Twist to the left as far as you can go and hold for thirty seconds, then twist to your right and hold for another thirty seconds. Please be careful when turning as you don’t want to twist or hurt your spine.
Get a big towel and roll it up into a sausage shape. Place it on the floor and also place a pillow on the floor. Lie down so that your spine is directly parallel to the towel. This helps straighten your back. You can try it for five minutes a day and increase gradually. This helped me as it also gave me a little stretch which felt good.
Other things you can do to improve posture
Pilates for posture
This has helped not only with posture but with tightness and pain.
Yoga for posture
A friend recommended this to me; she told me she’d done it for posture and well being. In the first instance you do feel uncomfortable with a straight back but it will become something you are used to, the way it is suppose to be.
Things you can do to improve when at work
If you’re like me and you spend most of your day sat at a computer, make sure you do a work station assessment. Your computer should be at proper eye level, you chair adjusted to the correct position. I found that the back had been too short so I adjusted it and that gave me better back support.
Take breaks from your desk. Being mobile helps your back unstiffen. At your desk you can do the exercises mentioned above at your desk. When lifting heavy items, use your leg muscles rather than your back muscles. Just keep on being conscious and soon good posture will be natural. I’m on my way there too.
The physiotherapist said that it takes at least three months to finally correct you posture without conscious effort. It will become natural to you. I’m hoping for that day soon.