A key to reduce the level of stress and strains within the body.
When some time ago I visited Kuala Lumpur the spectacle that attracted me most was the two guards standing stiffly flanking the ornamental gates of a ruler’s fairytale-like palace. I watched the two for a full minute and didn’t notice even a slight twitch of or muscle anywhere. I was told I could even stand by them and take a photo – and I did.
I understand near some museums in Paris some men and women simply stand for hours on end sans shaking a single muscle and earn money as the onlookers give them doles. Outside myriad posh restaurants the guards simply stand upright for hours on end and I feel amazed. Just like wax models or mannequins at the entrance to textile shops.
In contrast, watch the crowd of people waiting for a bus. I wonder at their looking like a rumpled lot humanity. Feet turned in, feet turned out, feet resting on one side or the other, thrusting one hip higher than the other, shoulders rounded and slouchy – yes, crumpled humanity. With a somewhat practised eye, I view such crowds and there wells up within me an almost irrestible desire to cry out, “Stand up.”
Posture is of paramount importance. Those who work in hospitals are early made to realise just how important it is. Proper posture, and walking gets the very best out of the human mechanism when stamina and endurance are badly required. Do you ever think about your posture? How are you sitting as you browse through this article?
How do you stand at your work bench, behind the desk, at the kitchen sink or while awaiting the bus? Please remember that good health depends on good posture. All such activities such as bending, stooping, walking and lifting cause stress and strains to be set up within the body, which are compensated by the design position, movement and balance of its various parts.
Thus, when a person who has been lying down assumes a standing position, a vast number of complex mechanisms forthwith come into play. Stresses are placed upon the bones and joints. Muscles are tightened and relaxed and from two tiny mechanisms of balance contained within the middle ear, impulses are coordinated with those positions sense and other impulses coming in from distant parts of the body.
Good posture is the acquisition of the body position in which the normal relationship between the bony framework, the muscles, and the contained organs is maintained with a minimum of effort. Individuals possessing good posture find standing on both legs is almost effortless and is achieved with little fatigue.
The immense importance of good posturing cannot be overemphasised. Yet most people feel disinclined to give heed to their posture so long as they feel comfortable. Surveys reveal that 75 per cent of the population carry themselves improperly. This modern machine-age, with motor cars, cinemas, theatres and television is in no small part responsible for the prevalence of poor posture.
ADVERSE EFFECTS OF BAD POSTURE
For a greater or shorter period the body will tolerate a certain amount of malalignment without any disturbance of bodily functions. Sooner or later, however, the abnormal displacement of body structures, the compressing and lessening of body cavities will have an adverse effect. Organs may be affected in regions distant from where the stress and strains of bad posture arose. Continued poor posture will cause permanent structural changes in the bony framework of the body. This will affect the functioning of the muscles, joints and ligaments. They may be shortened, lenghtened or even injured. It’s now an accepted fact that myriad disease conditions such as arthritis, backache, and certain types of headache are often directly related to poor body position or posture.
The respiratory and digestive organs are among those most commonly affected by poor posture. Respiration is carried out by piston action of the diaphragm which is helped by abdominal
GOOD POSTURE IS THE ACQUISITION OF THE BODY POSITION IN WHICH THE NORMAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BONY FRAMEWORK, THE MUSCLES, AND THE CONTAINED ORGANS IS MAINTAINED WITH A MINIMUM OF EFFORT.
muscles, when they are in tone. In persons whose abdominal muscles have lost their tone the diaphragm ceases to act and respiration becomes thoracic.
When the head and neck are not erect, but are permitted to stoop forward, the shoulders cannot be raised efficiently, thus hindering the accessory muscles of respiration. In a round-backed individual the rib cage is limited. So with need and chin dropped, shoulders rounded and back bent, the lungs are badly ventilated.
The full movement of the diaphragm influences the filling and emptying of large vessels returning blood to the heart from the lower limbs from the pelvis, and from the organs contained in the abdomen.
When the movement of the diaphragm is hindered, it may result in congestion of the abdominal and pelvic organs associated with incomplete filling of the heart.
It’s surmised that there may be a definite relationship between a slumping, poor posture and angina pectoris – a heart muscle cramp giving rise to severe and frightening pain. Laxity and poor tone of the abdominal muscles may culminate in hernia (rupture) and malposition (displacement) of the abdominal organs.
From what has been said you will understand how easily faulty digestion, constipation and general malnutrition can follow. The following four steps will enable you to stand correctly and at the same time help to eradicate some of the habits of poor posture.
Become posture conscious: Think about your posture take a look at yourself in a long mirror or in the shop window. Should the opportunity arise, study fashion plates, and notice the erect carriage and stance of the models. ✿ When standing, contract or tighten, the large muscles of the buttocks – the glueteals. This makes the pelvis more horizontal and will also help to straighten the back and decrease the “bowler hat” stomach.
Straighten the back and neck and raise the head: Look proud! This will bring the chin and chest out, and draw the shoulders back. Walk tall.
Exercise to tone up and stretch those shortened muscles:
Stand up! ✿ Stand with the hands raised above the head, then bend to touch your toes or to get as near as possible – two times night and morning.
Throw the shoulders well back with arms outstretched a dozen times night and day. ✿ Raise the heels, bend knees, with the hands placed firmly on the hips, six times night and morning. This is good for straightening the back and also for improving the balance. ✿ Lie flat on the floor, bring the legs up until at right angles with the trunk, the arms stretched out above the head. This will improve the abdominal muscles and stretch the muscles of the thighs. ✿ To finish, lie still, straight and relaxed on the floor, and deep breathe for 3 or 4 minutes. After this you will feel marvellously relaxed and buoyant.
Assume the upnight position gradually with the aid of the hands. A few minutes invested in daily exercise will pay you dividends and your posture will improve over a period of time. Patience and consistency are essential. Never exercise to a point of fatigue.
Remember, good posture has an important role to play in the health of the body. Correct your posture and you will be one step nearer to efficient living. Stand up. It is important that you do.
A FEW MINUTES INVESTED IN DAILY EXERCISE WILL PAY YOU DIVIDENDS AND YOUR POSTURE WILL IMPROVE OVER A PERIOD OF TIME. PATIENCE AND CONSISTENCY ARE ESSENTIAL. NEVER EXERCISE TO A POINT OF FATIGUE.