If you slouch at your desk job or have a naturally hunched back, it is time to understand why and what you should do about it! Chong Lai Peng, an aspiring chiropractor shared some of his tips with us.
"Stand straight, don't hunch your back!"
Sound familiar? Most of us have probably heard this from our parents when we were children. As we grow older, we develop other bad habits like slouching at the office desk or looking down at our phones too much. But why is there an emphasis on good posture when it feels so uncomfortable?
Benchmark Theory set off to find the reasons behind bad posture and what we can do about it. We sat down with Chong Lai Peng, an aspiring chiropractor who is now driven to help others due to his own back problems in the past.
1. What is a good posture?
Many people think a good posture means sitting upright and having your spine straight, but that is very untrue. A good posture refers to the "three natural curves that are present in a healthy spine". It is also called neutral spine.
In my opinion, this can differ between individuals as no two people have the same body structure. So when two people have the correct alignment, it does not necessarily mean that they will look the same.
But generally, the neutral spine should look like something on the left, with three natural curves at the cervical-thoracic, thoracic-lumbar and lumbar pelvic area.
2. Why is having a good posture important?
Having a good posture naturally means having a good range of motion which is important for daily activities and even exercising. A good posture allows for en even distribution of weight on the joints and muscles, therefore making it easier to workout with a proper form.
This in turn means performance can be improved as it implies that your body is being engaged in an efficient manner. In the long term, it will also help prevent injuries.
3. What are the major factors that prevent a good posture?
Excessive use of the muscle or joint is a common problem that may cause wear and tear on the joint, causing stiffness. This reduces the range of motion and vice versa where a lack of range of motion can lead to muscle stiffness.
Intense impact to the body may also cause partial dislocations or complete dislocation to the bone. This can be a result from accidents or a fall, making it very traumatic to posture.
In some cases, bad posture may cause impingement on the nerve and may cause an area - in which the nerve is responsible for - to lose its sensory and motor function, leading to paralysis. But generally, bad posture slowly develops as people pick up bad habits when sitting, standing, sleeping, driving or even exercising.
These include sitting down with a figure 4 leg position, rounded shoulders and a hunched back when working a desk job, dropping the head too too much while texting and more.
4. Are there any suggestions to maintain a good posture?
Pick up good habits! Something you can change right now is bringing your electronic device up to eye level when standing or sitting. Although it may feel taxing at first, making it a habit will be good in the long run.
Another would be to stretch out after being in a fixed position after a long time. Especially for desk-bound jobs, there is a need to do this perhaps every hour or so. Stand up and walk around.
Being more mindful and aware of your body position and movements will help. Doing correct exercises in the best form, and having a regular checkup with a doctor or chiropractor can also help with maintenance.
5. Are there any exercises that can be done to improve posture?
Strengthening, mobility, stretching and conditioning are all very important in having a good posture. training on your core and back will absolutely help.
It also depends on the body part that is experiencing discomfort or pain. For example, if it is the lower back that is feeling tightness, you can pull your knees to the chest to stretch the muscles and do dorsal raises to strengthen the back. Just be mindful of your form and make sure your muscles are developed in a balanced manner.
Having a good posture is a lifestyle choice. There is no miraculous fix for it, but rather like an endless journey. There will be ups and downs but it is important to keep working on keeping a good posture!
Do you have bad posture? Just join one of our sessions to get your posture-fixing journey started!