GOOD POS­TURE

A key to re­duce the level of stress and strains within the body.

Woman's Era - - Contents - T. Ra­jagopalan

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.

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