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Stand Tall, Live Longer
26October/2015

Stand Tall, Live Longer

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WORDS Joe Bishop

Today’s community is based around a capitalist society where the ambition for substantial wealth is seen as the most important aspect in life. In the past few decades, business in our community has boomed and the determination for a successful career is even greater than before. Strong-willed individuals are putting every effort into getting to the top of the corporate ladder; but what are they neglecting?

WE’RE SPENDING MORE AND MORE TIME LEANING OVER A DESK, A COMPUTER OR SITTING IN A CAR WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT THE EFFECT THESE ACTIVITIES ARE HAVING ON OUR BODIES AND POSTURE.

The basic chair was invented in 200BC and is now seen in every house, every office and every form of transport within the modern world. The chair is also the main contributor to poor posture in our society today, as it is a fundamental piece of equipment in every workplace. The way in which a chair is structured goes against how the human body is meant to function with a neutral or straight spine. It is a piece of equipment that western society seemingly cannot function without; meaning the issue of poor posture will always be one that is facing each and every individual.
The chair is not as widespread in other societies, including Africa and Asia, because their customs promote the practice of sitting on the ground or squatting, which is how the body is structured to perform at its best.

CAUSES OF POOR POSTURE
1. Capitalist society is the main contributor to poor posture, as this lifestyle forces us to spend more time leaning over a desk, sitting in a chair or driving in the incorrect sitting position doing damage to our spine and muscles surrounding it, including the shoulders as they protract causing the head to tilt forwards.

2. Hyper-pronation of the feet whereby the arches collapse and ankles roll in. This causes a chain of events to occur that impact the whole body as the knees rotate forward, the back sways, the buttocks and stomach stick out, shoulders begin to roll forward and the head moves forward.

EFFECTS OF POOR POSTURE:
Amount of air inhaled is decreased. As the spine begins to rotate forward, the thoracic cavity is crushed and decreases in size, meaning less air is inhaled every instance.

Less productivity; as the brain requires 20 per cent of oxygen to run at its maximal efficiency, poor posture decreases this amount, causing a decrease in efficiency.

Back health complications: poor posture can cause bulging spinal discs, back pain and aches, pressure inside the chest, reflux symptoms, constipation as well as poor blood circulation.

Emotional health complications; poor posture also has an emotional effect on people, sometimes making them feel less attractive compared to people with a neutral spine.

SOLUTIONS TO POOR POSTURE:
Get a massage: a massage will loosen the joints and muscles that have adapted to the incorrect technique and position and this will allow future exercises on the muscle with more ease.

Get suitable equipment: your chair should contain cushioning, lumbar-back support and elbow support.

Sit/walk in correct positioning: sit square to your computer, knees at right angles to floor; the computer screen should be at eye level, and forearms should be parallel to the floor when writing. Walk with shoulders back and away from the ears, open up the thoracic cavity by standing tall.

Do corrective exercises: including stretching, activation drills and functional activities using body-weights, resistance bands and weights.

Orthotics for hyper-pronation: orthotic inserts from a qualified professional will allow support for the ankle and arches of the feet, which in turn will stop the effects of hyper-pronation.

Poor posture has been proven to lead to health issues and complications including shortness of breath, leading to decreased amounts of oxygen to the brain. Not only does it have physical effects on the individual, it can have emotional effects as well. It can be a gruelling road to recovery, but ensuring correct posture is an activity that should be undertaken by all for their own physical and emotional health.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joe Bishop is a Personal Trainer at Nitro Boxing Fitness Centre (Chermside, Brisbane) with a main focus in boxing. He has been in the industry for approximately six years after completing a Bachelor of Medical Science at QUT. Joe is currently studying for a Master's of Exercise Science - Strength and Conditioning.


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