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Posture excercises

The importance of good posture

Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity whilst standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture is a simple but very important way of avoiding MSD (Musculoskeletal Disorder) such as neck and back pain and involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments, especially important for people who spend many hours sitting at workstations or standing throughout the day.

Good PostureGood Posture at the workstation

  • Keeps each part of the body in alignment, such as bones and joints so that muscles are being used properly
  • Decreases the stress on ligaments holding joints together
  • Prevents strain or overuse problems such as RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury)
  • Helps you to be calmer, more relaxed and more physically and mentally stable
  • Prevents fatigue as muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy
  • Help decrease abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis

 

Poor PostureBad Posture

Poor posture results from certain muscles tightening up or shortening whilst others lengthen and become weak, which often occurs as a result of one's daily activity. This adds strain to the muscles and over time can change the anatomical characteristics of blood vessels and nerves as well as muscle, disc and joint problems, all of which can lead to back and neck pain, headaches, fatigue and possibly problems with major organs and breathing.

 



WALKING - How to hold a good posture when walking

How you hold your body is important to walking comfortably and easily. Having the right posture will help you breathe better, have optimal blood circulation and maintain a healthier back, hips, knees and ankles

  • Imagine being tall and straight, do not arch your back
  • Pretend you are trying to make your neck longer
  • Do not lean forward or back as this puts a strain on the back muscles
  • Eyes forward, focus 5 to 6 metres ahead without looking down
  • Keep your chin up, parallel with the ground. This reduces stress on the neck
  • Suck in your stomach, tuck in your behind and rotate your hips slightly forward, this will keep you from arching your back
  • Touch the ground with your heel first and use your toes to push off for your next step
  • Use comfortable shoes which support the arch of your feet

SITTING - How to hold a good posture while sitting

We were not designed to sit on the floor for long hours but modern life requires the vast majority of the population to work in a seated position. Sitting in a good anatomical position is essential to avoid putting strain on the spine and its associated ligaments which over time can lead to pain, deformity and chronic illness.

  • Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of the chair
  • All three normal back curves should be present whilst sitting. If you do not have a chair with a lumbar support, use a lumbar roll to support the lower back
  • Distribute your body weight evenly across your hips
  • The seat should be tilted down slightly to open the pelvis
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor
  • Avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes
  • When standing up, move to the front of the seat using the arm rests. Stand up by straightening your legs, avoid bending forward at the waist.

LIFTING - How to lift with the correct posture

Learning the correct lifting posture can greatly reduce injury. Improper lifting techniques can cause back, leg and arm paid, leading to acute injury and chronic effects. A proper lifting technique involves squatting down and uses the strong muscles in your legs to do the brunt of the lifting.

  • Test the weight of the item you need to lift to ensure that it is not too heavy to move alone
  • Ensure you have firm footing
  • Squat to lift, keep your back straight and keep the load as close as possible to your body
  • Use your arm and leg muscles as you lift, not your back
  • Keep your torso and lower back straight as you move into a standing position
  • Carry the load close to your body as you walk
  • Turn with your feet, do not twist your spine

SLEEPING AND LYING DOWN - How to lie down with the correct posture

Don't underestimate the importance of posture when sleeping or lying down. Ideally the spine should be kept in a more neutral position overnight.

  • Try using a medium to firm mattress
  • Sleep on your side with your knees slightly bent. Do not draw your knees up to your chest
  • Do not sleep on your stomach, especially on a softer mattress s this can cause back and neck strain
  • If you sleep on your back, try using a lumbar support
  • If you have larger hips and shoulders you may need a slightly softer mattress to achieve a neutral position
  • The pillow should be under your head and neck and should be a thickness that allows your head to be in the neutral position, aligned with your shoulders

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