Good Posture – looking after your back
What is good posture?
Posture is the position in which you hold your body and limbs when standing, sitting or lying down.To have good posture means that you need to be aware of always holding yourself in a way that puts the least strain on your back, whatever you are doing.
Having good posture means that:
- your bones and joints are in line so that muscles can be used properly
- your spine has its three normal curves
- ligaments holding the spine together are not being stressed
- you don’t get tired as quickly
- you don’t get pain in your back or other muscles
- you look good!
|To have good posture, you will need:
- strong, flexible muscles, especially each side of the spine
- well balanced muscles, not overdeveloped on one side
- to be able to move freely
- to be aware of your posture and work to improve it.
Regular exercise like running, walking, cycling and playing different sports will help to keep your back strong.
To have good posture when you are standing, you need to practice.
Stand in front of the mirror.
- Holding your head up and chin in, look straight ahead.
- Put your shoulders back.
- Tuck your tummy in.
- Keep your knees straight.
- Take a deep breath and relax your shoulders.
- Keep your chest forward.
Standing for a long time is tiring, so try to rest one foot at a time a bit higher up than the other, like on a step, or a stool.
Slumping sideways into your hip is not good posture and can strain your back muscles. Try to move about rather than standing in one position for too long.
- When you sit, try to keep your back straight
- Put your back against the backrest of the chair
- Your knees should make a right angle.
- Feet flat on floor.
- Don’t cross your legs.
|If you are working on a computer, then your chair should be moved to fit you.
- Don’t lean forward. Sit back and stretch your arms out to the keyboard.
- Bring your chair up close to the keyboard so that you can rest your arms on the chair or desk. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Sitting like this is the least stressful way for your back
- If you are playing computer or video games, be aware that your shoulders may be hunching up as you get more excited.
- You need to rest and move around every 30 minutes to let your body relax.
- Try bending back a few times to stretch your muscles and help them relax.
- Never lift by yourself anything that is an awkward shape or is more than a quarter of your body weight.
- Always bend your knees and straighten your legs as you lift. This way your leg muscles are doing the work not your back muscles.
- Use a trolley if you have to move something heavy.
- To lift something, put your feet apart, hold the object close to your body and keep your arms bent. This way you are using your arm muscles and not pulling on shoulder and back muscles.
- Never lift anything higher than your waist.
- Bend your legs and hips, tighten your tummy muscles and use your leg muscles to help you lower the object down again.
|Even when you are lying down or sleeping, you can look after your posture by:
- keeping the natural curves in your back
- lying on your side with your knees bent
- lying with your head on one pillow so that your spine is in a natural position.
Dr Kate says
Thinking about good posture and being careful to look after your spine will help you to have a strong healthy back. In the ‘olden days’, girls were made to practise walking around balancing books on their heads to improve their posture. You don’t need to do that, but you may want to try it out to see how straight and tall you can stand and how good your balance is.