The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Body Watch


Q:I am told that I have an incorrect posture due to which I may encounter difficulties later on in life. Please help.

RV, Purulia

Posture is something we develop through habit by repeating movements and patterns. It is very important to be aware of our own bodies and maintain good posture so that there is minimum strain on the spine, pelvis and legs, and the muscles and joints function in the most effective way. Training, if done incorrectly, can cause problems or injuries, as in the torso leaning forward as if being pulled by some invisible force, or a very conspicuous posterior, accompanied by an exaggerated curve of the lower back or, the most common of all, the stooped, rounded shoulders. Thus through balanced training, appropriate stretching and carrying yourself correctly, you can acquire a good posture.

To ensure proper body alignment and posture keep the following in mind:

While standing:

Stand straight with ears, shoulders and hips aligned

Utilise abdominal muscles to keep the chest lifted and the back supported

Distribute body weight evenly on both feet

Wear low-heel, comfortable shoes

Change positions to prevent stiffness

While sitting:

Practise the pelvis tripod ' sit erect with the pelvis in neutral position with both feet flat on the floor

Make sure the knees are even with the hips

While keeping your head balanced over the shoulders and hips, visualise the top of the head touching the ceiling

Keep body weight evenly distributed across hips

Use lumbar support if necessary to support the curve in the lumbar spine

Keep the chair close to the table while working to avoid slouching or leaning forward

Change positions often to stop muscles from stiffening

While sleeping:

Sleep on a firm mattress to help support your back

Use only one pillow under the head or sleep on your side with the knees bent

Avoid sleeping on your stomach

While driving:

Adjust the car seat so that you can easily reach the pedals and steering wheel

Sit up straight, keeping chest and head high and avoid slouching forward

Use lumbar support to maintain the natural arch of your back

On long trips, get out of the car to stretch every now and then.

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