Working in a Chiropractic office for seven years, I have seen my fair share of people with back pain. Lower back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide and each year over 11 million Canadians suffer from at least one musculoskeletal condition. This accounts for one-third of all missed days of work, second only to the common cold! Some result from slips or falls, other occur because if improper lifting techniques, but majority of these back injuries are caused by poor ergonomic work stations and more importantly, poor posture.
Your posture is the normal way in which you hold your body into position. If you were to ask anyone to show you good posture, they would straight up, draw their shoulder blades together and retract their chin. Conversely, if you were to ask some to show you bad posture, they would hunch their back, drop their shoulders and jut their chin out. Bad posture results from spending time sitting, working on computers and hunching over mobile devices. Sitting is the worst position of your spine. Sitting puts 30 per cent more stress on your back than standing or walking. It compresses the disc between your vertebrae causing the bone to move closer together, thus compressing the nerve leading to back pain. Improving your posture is an easy and very important way to maintain a healthy mind and body. When you are correct posture, your body is functioning at optimal capacity, alleviating common problems such as back or neck pain, headaches, and fatigue.
Canada’s Chiropractors are experts on improving posture and optimizing overall health and well being. They recently launched a new app called ‘Straighten Up Canada’ to help Canadians improve their posture and reduce the risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder through a serious of easy to do exercises that focus on your posture, core muscles and back. Through this app, they are hoping Canadian’s will adopt the “Take 3 at 3” break: a simple three minute break at 3:00 p.m. to perform some simple stretches and exercises found on the Straighten Up Canada app.
1. Reduces wear and tear: Think of your body as a machine. If all your parts are in the proper position, the machine works efficiently. When one part is shifted slight, the other parts begin rubbing on one another causing the machine to run slowly. The same thing happens in your body. When your posture is off, you cause wear and tear on other parts of your body resulting in a limited range of motion or arthritis.
2. Breathe Easy: When you are hunched over texting on your phone, you may notice that your breathing isn’t quite right. This is because your lungs are not being able to expand to full capacity due to your rib cage. If you stand tall with your head back, shoulder relaxed and chest open, you are opening your airways allowing oxygen to flow to your entire body.
3. Decreases Stress: Improper posture cause your muscle to elongate and contract in unnatural position. This puts stress and strain on the muscles resulting in pain and discomfort. If you are in proper position, your muscles are relaxed and in a neutral position.
4. Increases Energy: Your nervous system is like a garden hose. When you are slouching you are putting many kinks in the garden hose causing the body to work harder to perform the same output. When you are in proper position, the body is functioning at maximal capacity causing to perform the same functions with minimal energy.
5. Be Better: Slouching or improper posture looks bad, causes pain, and results in your entire body working in a non optimal state. If you align your ears with your shoulders and hip, you will not only look better, but feel more confident.
Download the Straighten Up Canada App and take 3 minutes to improve posture. These simple low impact exercises can be done at home, the office or pretty much anywhere! Need some music to motivate you while you exercise?
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You can find Jenn and her crazy crew over on her blog 1Heart1Family, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. Jenn is a working mom to two amazing boys and one Princess. 1Heart1Family is a blog about raising children, life with celiac disease and helpful product reviews so you can find the product that’s just right for you!
Disclosure: This post was brought to you by the Canadian Chiropractic Association. All opinions are strictly my own.