You’re spending too much time bent over a computer or hunched over a mobile device, and it’s wreaking havoc on your posture. Mom told us to “stand up straight”, but the stress of bodies being squeezed behind a desk and slouching in front of a keyboard is why doctors and posture specialists are seeing problems like text-neck, tech-back and carpal-tunnel syndrome.
Awareness of a problem is always the first step towards improvement. Especially if your lifestyle isn’t going to change, start a monthly habit of looking at, and documenting your posture.
Checking out the current state of your posture is not just about alleviating pain or looking better and younger. Years of bad habits and repetitive motion cause changes in how our body functions. Gravity and muscle weakness cause posture degeneration and real health consequences. Movement is often restricted, flexibility decreases, the ability to breathe deeply is lost, leading to a reduced desire to exercise and be active. This is often the beginning of an unhealthy, lifelong cycle.
3 Step Posture Check
1. Grab a friend and any mobile device camera to snap a quick posture picture – selfies don’t work (you can also use a free posture app like PostureZone). Stand tall with what feels like your best posture and take 3 pictures: one from the front, back and side.
2. Print each picture to a separate sheet. Put a dot between your feet on the front and back view, and on your ankle on the side view. Fold each paper in half, neatly at the dot.
3. Now check for symmetry. On your front and back view photos each half of your body should appear balanced. If your head or torso is off to one side, or one arm hangs further from the body, or one hand hangs lower than the other, your posture is not symmetrical.
On your side view picture the line starting at your ankle should pass through your hip, shoulder and ear. If your head is jutting forward of that line, you may have a posture distortion called Forward Head Posture (a.k.a. tech neck).
Most people find their “best posture” translates to something not quite so straight and balanced when captured in a picture. Use this to note areas that need improvement and then file it away to compare with your next posture checkup.
May is Posture Month! PostureMonth.org spearheads the annual health initiative to bring awareness to the impact posture has on health. This May hundreds of doctors, therapists and trainers are offering free posture pictures all month to the community. Visit PostureMonth.org to find a participating office near you and schedule a posture check.
ACE Your Posture
Studies confirm posture has a huge effect on your health, appearance and attitude. As more people develop a permanent slump from sitting in front of a computer, posture is being seen as a growing health problem.