Proper posture

Assuming the correct stance can give you an instant makeover

Woman doing a yogasana that helps maintain good posture

A combination of many factors gives rise to poor posture such as a strained back or stooped shoulders. If the natural curves of your spine [which takes a gentle, sloping S shape] are overly arched or flattened over long periods of time, it is only a matter of time before your spine turns stiff. So make the effort to get your posture corrected NOW!

Causes of poor posture

There are several reasons why people tend to develop poor posture over a period of time:

Impossibly high heels look delectable, but can take a toll on your spinal cord.

Overcome it: Don’t throw those high-heeled J
immy Choo sandals away. Flaunt them by all means, but only for shorter durations and when not too much walking/standing up is involved. Keep a pair of sensible and comfortable shoes handy in your car, to be slipped into when the party is over.

You like to carry your world with you, in your suitcase. Lifting heavy luggage can result in back strain.

Overcome it: Travel light, even though it might seem like a tall order. When travelling, be careful while lifting or carrying heavy objects such as your suitcase, in order to avoid straining your back. Here’s how to do it right: assume a wide stance, bend at the knees rather than at the waist, keep your back straight and lift slowly with your arms and legs, not your back.

An improper bra size is likely to tug at your breasts and consequently at your back.

Overcome it: Spend some time on getting the measurements right and tryout different styles before choosing one that falls in line with your centre of gravity.

 Spending hours hunched before the computer screen

Sitting hunched before the computer screen for hours together isn’t doing any favours to your back. In fact, it’s what can give rise to a hunched back in the long run. “I have difficulty getting up from my chair at the end of a long, tiring day,” a client of mine admits.

Overcome it: Invest in a chair with a straight back, arm support and a firm cushion. When seated, tuck a small, firm cushion in the small of your back for support. Use a footrest to elevate your feet slightly. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” as Mandar, an architect, so aptly demonstrates: “I put a carton under my desk to rest my feet on.” The screen of the computer should be at eye level so that the spine and neck are not strained. Avoid sitting for long periods. Take frequent breaks to move and stretch your muscles. If your job keeps you standing for long hours, use your breaks to sit down and relax.

 “I feel a tugging pain in my lower back every time I try to get out of bed,” is a frequent complaint of a client of mine. An improper sleeping position may be to blame.

Overcome it: Lying on your back forces your back to be flat, thereby placing too much pressure on your spine. If you tend to adopt this position in your sleep, place a pillow under your knees for support to prevent lower back pain; if you sleep on your side, place a pillow between slightly bent knees. It will ease pressure and help maintain the natural curves of your spine. Sleeping on your stomach may increase the curve of your lower back; so this position is best avoided. When getting out of bed, swing your legs over the side of the bed to the floor instead of twisting your body to get up. Finally, opt for a firm mattress. A good mattress will conform to the spine’s natural curves and keep it in alignment. If you don’t have a firm mattress, insert a piece of hardboard underneath.

Being overweight affects your posture and overburdens your back as well. If you tend to accumulate fat on your abdomen, it makes you a prime candidate for lordosis [excessive inward curvature of the spine].

Overcome it: Extra pounds are better off in your bank, not on your back. Make an effort to knock them off.

Having trouble carrying groceries home? Surely there ought to be a better way of doing it?

Overcome it: Avoid lugging it all in one hand or holding it in front of you. Divide your shopping into two bags, to be carried in each hand.

Ever feel tiredness seeping in to as you move from one chore to the next all day long? Ignore it and you will feel your body, and your posture, wilt under the pressure.

Overcome it: Take regular breaks from your chores. And if possible, how about sneaking in a short nap in the afternoon? It will enable you to stay energetic for the remainder of the day.

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