Posture Health Is Longevity Health
Your longevity has everything to do with your posture health.
What is posture health?
Posture health is healthy longevity expressed in the correct body posture. Good posture means in any standing position, your body posture should be as follows:
- Your head is directly above your shoulders.
- Your ear, shoulder, and hip are in a straight line from a side view.
- Your upper back is straight, not slouched.
- Your shoulders, relaxed and straight, are flat against your back.
- Your pelvis is in a neutral position
- Your knees are unlocked.
Good posture provides the following implicit health benefits:
If you have good posture, you have good body balance, which goes a long way to preventing falls common among the elderly population. Falls are due to weak body muscles, and poor posture weakens your muscles through muscle strain due to constant contraction and expansion.
If you have good posture, you salvage yourself from debilitating back pain, neck pain, leg pain, and even headaches, which often interfere with longevity living.
If you have good posture, your spine is straight, which enhances your breathing. Healthy breathing not only provides ample oxygen to your lungs for long-term health but also nourishes, in the form of qi (internal vital energy), different parts of your body for maximum growth and rejuvenation.
A slumped back compresses your chest, resulting in shallow, instead of deep, breathing. According to research, animals with shallow breathing do not live long.
A rib cage pressing downward exerts pressure on your heart, liver, and stomach, thereby unduly stressing these organs.
In addition, good posture may make you look younger and slimmer. A stooped posture – rounded and narrow shoulders, and compressed chest – makes you look older than your actual age. When your upper back slums forward, it presses your rib cage downwards, thereby instrumental in protruding your belly, making your waistline appear larger than it really is.
Maintain Good Standing Posture
“Straightening up” (jamming your shoulders back, tucking in your tummy, and standing stiff) is not recommended for good standing posture: it does not align your body, and it is not practicable due to the inability to sustain the posture over a long period.
What is a good standing posture?
- Head directly on top of shoulders
- Ear, shoulder, and hip in a straight line (side view)
- Straight upper back
- Shoulder blades (relaxed, not rounded) flat against the
- Pelvis in neutral position (lined up vertically, not slanted)
- Knees unlocked
How to stand up straight to improve posture
Good posture requires the following:
- Straight spine
- No slumping
- Straight shoulders
Steps for good standing posture:
- Stand with feet hip-width apart (for better balance)
- Align ears, shoulders, and hips (Using a mirror for
- Unlock both knees (maintaining “neutral” pelvis; avoiding
pelvis tilting forward)
- Pull in abdominal muscles
- Inhale naturally
- Exhale slowly while pulling the belly button into the spine
- Lift rib cage (straightening rounded upper back; expanding
the lungs for deeper breathing)
- Realign head over shoulders (head not leaning backwards).
- Un-round shoulders (by rotating arms until palms facing
- Gently press shoulders down, away from the ears.
- Pull shoulder blades towards the spine.
- Stretch head upwards without tilting backwards.
Exercise to enhance good standing posture
- Stand with your back against a wall with heels several
inches away from the wall.
- Relax your arms.
- Slowly bend your knees, while pressing the small of your
back against the wall.
- Lift your rib cage and press the back of your head to the
- Press the back of your shoulders to the wall, while pulling
the shoulder blades together.
- Hold the position.
- Press your back and shoulders to the wall.
- Bend your knees and slide down the wall.
- Slide back up the wall.
- Relax and repeat.
The drawbacks of a slumped upper back:
- Slumping posture decreases the capacity of your lungs,
resulting in shallow breathing.
- Slumping posture makes your shoulders narrow and
- Slumping posture presses your rib cage downwards, thereby exerting pressure on your heart, liver, and stomach.
- Slumping posture weakens the muscles across your middle back and stretches your shoulder blades.
- Slumping posture makes you look shorter and older.
Exercises to stop slumping to improve posture
Wall push-up to improve posture
- Stand, facing the wall, and breathe in.
- Bend knees slightly.
- Place hands with palms against the wall (shoulder level).
- Bend elbows and slowly lower your torso to the wall, while flattening your upper back between shoulders.
- Pull in your abdominal (avoiding sagging lower back).
- Breathe out as you push your body away from the wall.
The best way to do this exercise is to use the Push-Up Pro, a durable push-up equipment with rotating grips for your wrists and non-slip base to work with your body’s natural movement patterns. Push-Up Pro will significantly improve your chest, shoulders, and arms for greater strength and better posture. Exercise to improve posture.
Chest and Shoulder Stretch
- Stand straight.
- Put hands behind your back, one on top of the other.
- Press your shoulders down and way from your ears.
- Push arms backward.
- Hold and repeat.
Sitting is hard on your lower back. Your sitting posture is as important as your standing posture to your overall posture health. Good posture means sitting properly:
- Sit with neutral pelvis (pelvis not tilting forward).
- Do not lean over a desk (head-forward position), putting undue pressure on your neck and upper back.
- Do not rest against the back.
- Lift your rib cage.
- Press your belly button into your spine
- Stick your chin forward and pull back your head and neck.
- Keep your head high and flatten your upper back.
Incorrect sitting position Correct sitting position
If you are sitting at a computer workstation, make the following adjustments:
- The top of your computer screen should be at eye level and
at arm’s length from you.
- Your keyboard should be angled towards you.
If you are driving, make the following adjustments:
- Bring your car seat to its straightest position.
- Sit with the back of your head resting against the headset.
- Grip the wheel at nine o’clock and three o’clock position (to
avoid rounding your shoulders).
Sleeping positions intensify your body posture. If you get an aching lower back after sleeping, do not assume that it is due to your mattress. Your sleeping position may be the culprit.
Any sleeping position may be ideal provided that your head should always align with your spine.
Sleeping on your back
Sleep on a thin pillow – head levelling with your spine. Avoid pushing your head forward or arching your neck with your chin jutting forward.
Place a soft pillow under your lower legs to take the pressure off your spine due to an accentuated lower back.
Sleeping on your stomach
This is not an ideal sleeping position, which may cause posture problems with your neck and your lower back.
If you must assume this sleeping position, sleep with a soft and flat pillow, and place a small pillow under your abdomen to avoid sagging your lower back.
If possible, learn to change your sleeping position.
Sleeping on your side
Sleep on a firm foam (not cushy and soft down) pillow – head levelling with your spine, tilting neither upwards nor downwards.
Place a soft pillow between your thighs to avoid strain on the joints in your lower spine and your hip socket, due to stacking one knee on top of the other while sleeping on the side. If you row to the other side, learn to take the pillow along.
Golf Posture for Golfing Success
During golf swing, you forcefully turn and twist your spine in an abnormal way. As a result, if you always swing to the left, your right abdominal muscles may become weakened while your left abdominal muscles may become strengthened, resulting in muscular imbalance.
Always maintain good posture during a golf swing:
- Always keep a straight back.
- Bend at your hips and knees.
- Shift your body weight to your hips and legs.
Exercise to prevent muscular imbalance
- Lie on your back.
- Bend your knees, with your feet about eighteen inches
from your bottom.
- Place both hands behind your head.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles.
- Lift your left shoulder and your right knee toward each other (if you always swing to t
- Lift your right shoulder and your left knee toward each other (if you always swing to the right).
- Hold the position and repeat.
Good Posture for Squash and Tennis Players
If you play squash or tennis, you need very flexible hips to propel quick body movements in any direction. Flexible hips ensure good posture and avoid the risk of injury.
Kitchen sink hips stretch to improve posture
- Stand in front of your kitchen sink.
- Hold on to the edge of your kitchen sink with arms straight, but not locked, and with your feet directly under your shoulders.
- Tuck your hips under while slightly bending your knees.
- Let your head hang down by relaxing your neck while letting your bottom sink back slightly.
- Gradually stand up, and repeat.
Wisdom on Good Posture
Make a habit of good posture. Remember, it takes a while before you will get used to a new posture.
Always improve posture. Good posture exudes confidence and vitality.
Practice good posture exercises anytime and anywhere.
Inhale to expand your rib cage. Exhale through your mouth to contract and flatten your abdominal muscles while pulling in your rib cage. Hold and repeat.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Inhale. Exhale while pulling in your abdominal muscles and clenching your buttock muscles for a neutral pelvis (reducing the curve in your lower back). Hold, release, and repeat.
Inhale and exhale consciously to relieve muscle stress and tension.
To avoid your head hanging forward, stick your chin forward and then gently pull back your head (if as touching an imaginary object with the back of your head).
Lift your rib cage, while squeezing your shoulder blades towards one another and then pressing them down your waistline. Hold and repeat.