In my last Fitness Post I looked at the perspective that the Body follows the Brain, but let’s reverse that point of view in that brain function is effected by the poor posture of the body. Let’s face it, far more of us spend most of our day in a seated posture and the greatest percentage of that in front of some sort of electronic device…therefore this must effect our posture. And does this pooor posture, particularly around the cervical spine (neck) effect our brain function? Some medical specialists think that it does, more particularly those who deal with the spine such as chiropractic people and naturopathic specialists.
They contend that sitting for one hour a day is good for your health as the body needs rest, but any more than that has a degenerative effect on your health. Seeming most jobs require people to be seated for most of their working day, this is most alarming.
May I give you a very short explanation as to why the seated posture has a negative effect on your health. Firstly if we start at the top and understand that there are 12 Cranial Nerves running down either side of the Cervical spine and these nerves supply organs such as the lungs and heart. If there is an impingement of these nerves through the neck being out of alignment this can effect the function of these organs. This lack of normal function in breathing ability and blood supply will effect the function of other vital organs such as the brain. This in turn effects our ability to think. Now I believe that thinking is important – even though I have stated in previous posts that other cognitive abilities such as feeling and using intuitive abilities are just as important – so anything that effects any of these abilities should be considered?
If you have a look at the picture above more closely you will see the ‘normal’ posture of someone is sitting in front of a computer (or a driving posture for that matter) – but this is not natural. Another part of the spine that is obviously effected is the Lumbar Spine (or lower back) because the spine is in its strongest position when it’s natural curves are maintained. As you can see, this part of the spine is flattened and this posture has an effect on the way we walk. Poor posture about the neck area also has an effect on the function of your shoulders as I have said before…
So what can we do about it if our posture is in poor alignment for a good percentage of our day?
- I have gone over some exercises you can do to take the pressure off the Cervical Spine in previous posts in that you should continually remind yourself that you should feel that there is an imaginary string pulling your head into alignment which straightens the neck and to tuck your chin back slightly which has the same effect. You can view that post for other ideas that help improve neck posture. Other habits you can develop is to get up regularly (every 20 – 30 minutes for instance) and walk around for a few minutes. Secondly when you are sitting at a desk, sit on a Swiss Ball (your body is continually having to adjust to keep balance and therefore you are subliminally working many muscles this way.)
- Exercise regularly. Yes, it seems obvious but also when exercising be aware of your head position. Keeping your head in an anatomically straight position (keeping its natural curves in place) will ensure that your breathing and blood functions are normal and that you don’t strain the structures of your shoulders. May I add here that become aware of all movements you do in exercise as this lessens your chances of injury…and I mean ‘become aware’ just don’t worry about them…
- Learn to become aware of the effect that stress has on your posture. Just by becoming aware of this effect will have an immediate effect by lessening the stress…and this habit takes practice and repetition like all habits good and bad…
- Lastly also become aware of the effect of poor posture on your children’s cognitive functions….as the poor health of those you are close to has an effect on your own.
The reason I put these two posts concurrently is to demonstrate that there are two sides to every coin and to become conscious of this will help you gain a greater understanding of anything you observe in life…question everything …and take nothing at face value.