By Larraine Roulston:
My childhood memories of maintaining good posture remind me of walking with a book on my head and my mom poking me in the back at every appropriate opportunity. Is the teaching of good posture habits and their relationship to healthy bodies a good idea?
The year I entered high school, all females were required to enter a “Miss Posture Queen” contest. Teachers gave instructions on maintaining good posture while we walked, sat, took notes, as well as when picking up and carrying books. During the designated week of the contest, each of us received markers to wear, which were taken away when poor posture was spotted by a senior student. At the end of the week, the girls who still retained their markers were judged during an assembly until the ultimate posture queen was crowned. A school “posture queen”contest may seem odd in today’s culture. But, when I ran it by my 13-year-old granddaughter who will be in grade 9 next year, she smiled and thought it would be “very cool.”
Whether you are a high school junior or a senior citizen, any aches or pains that you experience might be related to poor posture. The following sites provide several reasons why you should keep your back straight and your head held high in order to look taller, slimmer, and to feel more confident.
- Improved posture will enable you to be in better shape and help youexcel in physical activities. Even your ability to walk, run and hold your balance more effectively are results of good posture. The research conducted by the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada demonstrated that centering your weight over your feet helps to maintain balance.
- Breathing becomes easier. Slouching places your ribcage in an awkward position that not only can constrict air passages, but also can put additional pressure on the lungs.
- With correct posture, your body will feel gravity’s effects more evenly. Poor posture cause some joints and muscles to work harder than required.
- Avoiding injuries can be attributed to good posture. With less strain being concentrated on the spine, a slipped disc or pinched nerve is less likely.
- Sitting up straight while eating will help with digestion, as pressure placed on your internal organs is minimized. Acid reflux, hernias and constipation can be the result of eating in a bent over position.
- Wearing high heels is a cause of posture problems, as cited by the National Posture Institute. This style of footwear places extra pressure on muscles and legs. High heels place the body at an unnatural angle, so the spine and hips shift and flex in order maintain balance. Women would be wise to wear flat shoes when traveling to and from work, and be selective where and when they wear high heels.
- Ensure that your weight is distributed evenly while you stand. This may take extra effort to maintain proper alignment of the shoulders, elbows, hips and knees. Stretching movements help loosen muscles. With exercise such as yoga, you will strengthen core muscles that will help improve your posture.
Allow your body language to reflect the appearance you wish to project. Whatever your age, check yourself in the mirror each day: it’s never too late to strive for better posture.
Larraine writes illustrated children’s books on composting and pollinating. Visit, www.castlecompost.com