Find out sim­ple ways that can help you to cor­rect your pos­ture

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Kusal Goonewar­dena

AT least 90% of in­juries I see are due to in­cor­rect pos­ture, which causes back pain, neck pain and headaches, not to men­tion knee, hip, and shoul­der pain. Pos­ture is so pow­er­ful that these re­lated prob­lems can show up any­where and at any time. But pos­ture isn’t just phys­i­cal, it also im­pacts your mind, ac­cord­ing to re­search which has linked good pos­ture with a healthy men­tal­ity. So, it is very im­por­tant to know how to cor­rect bad pos­ture.

Main­tain­ing good pos­ture doesn’t come eas­ily to ev­ery­one. A few facts about pos­ture in­clude:

• Pos­ture is more than stand­ing up straight: We of­ten think of pos­ture as how we carry our­selves while stand­ing, but in many cases it’s not even half the equa­tion – at Elite Akademy we see more peo­ple hav­ing seated pos­ture is­sues. Many peo­ple spend well over half of their day seated, due to work com­mit­ments and it’s eas­ily the most ur­gent prob­lem in how to cor­rect bad pos­ture.

• Bad pos­ture can be changed: Many peo­ple hold the view pos­ture is in­di­vid­ual or in­her­ited and there­fore un­change­able. Not true. Any­body can im­prove their pos­ture by mak­ing a few small changes and com­mit­ting to the change – even those who nat­u­rally tend to poor pos­ture.


1. In­ac­tiv­ity: We are 70% wa­ter and need reg­u­lar move­ment to nat­u­rally lu­bri­cate our joints, pre­vent­ing stiff­ness and pain. With­out ac­tiv­ity your joints stiffen, your mus­cles con­tract and you lose strength in core mus­cle groups. Reg­u­lar ex­er­cise can keep you strong and help pre­vent pos­ture prob­lems.

2. Com­puter screens at the wrong height: This has be­come a big­ger is­sue with more peo­ple us­ing lap­tops, which may cause them to look down­ward, put­ting strain on the neck. Ide­ally your screen is po­si­tioned at eye level.

3. Work­ing too long with­out a break: Too long in the one po­si­tion is a big prob­lem for desk-bound work­ers. Move when­ever you can, get up and take short breaks ev­ery 45 min­utes or so. Do ex­er­cises or stretches in your chair, go for a short walk at lunchtime. All these move­ments com­bined with good pos­ture keep you en­er­gised.

4. In­ap­pro­pri­ate footwear: It’s a shame that many beau­ti­ful shoes are also ter­ri­ble for pos­ture. Try and limit time spent in high heels and other ill-sup­port­ing shoes.

5. The iPhone shuf­fle: We tend to slouch and crane our neck for­ward when view­ing our smart­phones, creat­ing po­ten­tial back/neck is­sues and headaches. Peo­ple who spend hours look­ing at their phones ev­ery­day need to en­sure they re­main ac­tive and try to limit ‘screen time’.

Any­one can learn how to cor­rect bad pos­ture by recog­nis­ing that it is an is­sue and com­mit­ting to a change. Some key things which will help in­clude:

• A com­bi­na­tion of low, medium and high in­ten­sity ex­er­cises ev­ery week en­cour­ages more mo­bil­ity and flex­i­bil­ity and coun­ter­acts the daily dam­age at work.

• Re­mem­ber­ing that good pos­ture is just mo­tor learn­ing – that is, it takes ap­prox­i­mately 3000 reps of straight­en­ing your spine (sit­ting tall) for this to be­come au­to­mated by the brain. Us­ing 3000 reps as a rule, if peo­ple do 200 reps per day they will find how to cor­rect bad pos­ture in as lit­tle as 15 days.

Achiev­ing 200 reps is pos­si­ble:

• Ev­ery time you check your phone, sit tall. Stud­ies have found peo­ple check their phone 60-80 times per day.

• Wear­able tech such as fit­ness track­ers, may also be­come a re­minder sys­tem. If it turns on/ off ran­domly with move­ment then it be­comes a cue to no­tice and cor­rect bad pos­ture.

• Sim­i­larly, when check­ing email. Be­fore you open the emails ‘grow tall’ in the seat. This may ac­count for an­other 30-50 times per day.


• Bad pos­ture is a lead­ing cause of pain and is be­com­ing a big­ger is­sue with more peo­ple sit­ting for long pe­ri­ods at work.

• Un­der­stand how to change bad pos­ture and what po­si­tions to avoid.

• Any­one can learn how to cor­rect bad pos­ture with some com­mit­ment.

Kusal Goonewar­dena is an ex­pe­ri­enced phys­io­ther­a­pist, lec­turer, con­sul­tant and men­tor to thou­sands of phys­io­ther­apy stu­dents around the world. Kusal has au­thored books in­clud­ing: Low Back Pain – 30 Days to Pain Free; 3 Minute Work­outs; and co-au­thored Nat­u­ral Heal­ing: Quiet and Calm. Kusal con­sults via his clinic, Elite Akademy.

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