A story is told of a beautiful forest with tiny trees, planted by an old labourer, that were all growing together. This area was however battered by strong winds, against which the trees could barely hold themselves. So they bent their trunks and branches to shelter themselves from the bothersome gusts. The labourer however, knowing the trees couldn’t grow well this way, did all he could to keep them upright; straightening them out and tying supporting posts to their slim trunks. The trees still refused to stand erect. They twisted and twitched until they felt hidden from the torments of the wind. One tree right in the middle of the forest stood upright anyway, patiently bearing the annoying gusts.
Years passed and with the death of the old labourer, the trees grew as they wanted. All, but the one in the middle of the forest, bent and crouched as they pleased with no one bothering them. As the forest grew, the trees got thicker and stronger and began to crack from inside. Their growth got painful each day because of how contoured their trunks had become. The snapping and cracking could be heard from the forest a long distance off. And around the area, the place became known as the Wailing Forest. But there was yet a magical charm about the forest: right in the middle of it stood an impressive tree towering over short, knotty, twisted trees. And that tree, the only one that never creaked or cracked, continued growing and growing, without a worry for neither the capricious wind nor its accomplice, the breeze.
Just like the old labourer, God never intended your musculoskeletal scaffolding to be twisted and bent in all kinds of awkward postures just so you could seemingly be a bit more comfortable. He never intended that you slouch in the sofa instead of sit nor that you bend over to pick up an item off the floor rather than squat! We were made to stand up tall like that tree in the centre of the Wailing Forest. Posture simply refers to how your body is positioned when you are sitting, standing, lying down and performing a variety of everyday activities.
Today we strive to be a health conscious society and good posture is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Proper posture ensures that your bones and muscles are properly aligned, decreasing the wear and tear that your joints undergo. This greatly reduces the risk of developing joint discomfort and degenerative arthritis.
Proper posture also enables vital organs to be situated in their right positions so as to efficiently function. In addition to these, good posture helps in increasing productivity and work output. Without good posture, your overall health and total efficiency may be compromised.
The way we go about our daily activities could be well adjusted to save us a great deal of future pain and costs. Here are a few tips as to how we can do the…
When standing — hold your head high, chin firmly forward, shoulders back, chest out and stomach tucked in to increase your balance. If you stand all day in a job like a cashier or a clerk, rest one foot on a stool or take breaks to get off your feet for a while.
When sitting — use a chair with a firm back support. Keep your desk or table top elbow high, adjust chair or use a footrest too keep pressure off the back of the legs and keep your knees a little higher than your hips. Get up and stretch frequently — every hour if you sit for long periods of time. Do not sit on a fat wallet; it can cause lateral pelvic tilt!;
When working on a computer — take one or two minutes task break every 20 minutes when you work at the screen. Keep the screen 15 degrees below eye level. Place reference materials on a copy stand close to the workstation.
When driving — adjust the seat forward so your knees are higher than your hips. Put a small cushion or pillow in the small of your back.
When sleeping — sleep on your side with your knees bent and head supported by a pillow, to make your head level with your spine. Or sleep on your back, avoiding thick pillows under your head. Use a small pillow under your neck instead. Sleep NOT on your stomach!
When lifting — let your legs do the work in order to prevent injury to your low back. Stand close to the object, and then where possible, squat down and straddle (hug) it. Grasp the object, and slowly lift the load by straightening your legs as you stand up. Carry the object close to your body.
When bending — never twist from the waist and bend forward at the same time. To lift or reach something on the floor, bend the knees whiles keeping the back straight.
Let’s all do well to save our backs (vertebrae column)! It is not for nothing that it is one of the few body structures that didn’t come in a pair.