Health tips to improve your posture
For many of us, our daily routine revolves around sitting down. We get out of bed and sit down to eat breakfast, drive a car or sit down in public transport to get to work, or run errands. If we do office work, we sit for long periods of time, have lunch sitting down, and then sit on our way home. We eat dinner sitting, and watch TV, and then relax on the couch –sitting.
A recent Australian survey found we spend as much as 80% of our working day sitting (1). So, what is wrong with sitting and how does this affect our health?
For most people, sitting for long periods of time results in poor posture.
In my experience, office workers experience far greater incidence of lower back pain than more active workers. This is because their heads are more likely to slump forward while working at a desk, and for every centimetre that the head shifts forward, the pressure on the muscles in the back and neck doubles in an effort to hold the head up.
This puts strain on the back and neck muscles and over time can result in chronic pain. In fact, 80% of Australians will experience back pain at some time in their lives, and for 10% this will lead to a significant disability. 
Something we rarely think about is the effect poor posture has on our internal organs. A forward leaning posture, or a twist anywhere in the spine, will compress the spinal cord and will also have a detrimental impact on breathing, heart rate, blood circulation and digestion.
When your posture is upright, you can breathe deeply and easily. This allows more oxygen to flow into your blood, helping you to think clearly. This has a flow-on effect of enhancing your mood, concentration and energy levels in general.
So, here are some health tips to improve your posture:
If your office chair seat is adjustable, tilt your seat so it’s lower at the front and higher at the back. If not, place a foam wedge or folded towel at the back of your seat. This lifts your bottom above knee height and positions the spine in a relaxed normal S-curve – resulting in a good upright posture (see diagram).
Movement is important to take the pressure off your lower back. Where possible alternate between a desk, standing desk, office couch or conference table. Or take phone calls standing up and suggest a walking meeting.
It’s also important to stretch and strengthen your muscles. Build in regular walking, running, cycling, swimming, yoga,Pilates, dance, martial arts or Feldenkrais during the working week to improve your general health.
If you do experience muscular pain – help is available. The latest breakthrough in chiropractic care –‘Advanced Biostructural Correction TM’ – works by releasing bodily injuries, effectively unwinding past muscular trauma, enabling the body to move freely from pain, and re-establishing a natural upright posture.
I also notice a huge improvement in my clients’ general health, immune system, moods and outlook on life, as their posture is corrected into an upright position.
This article is based on Dr Zahedi’s book: ‘Straight Forward. Why Forward Posture affects your health and how to fix it’. Publisher – Love of Books
Dr Hooman Zahedi is a respected chiropractor who specialises in ‘Advanced Biostructural Correction TM’ technique to correct posture and reduce pain and chronic ailments.
 The Medical Journal of Australia, 190, 2009
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