3. Poor posture: causes
Why do we have poor posture? There are two sides to this: physical and mental.
Physically: going right back to fundamentals, we are hunter-gatherers, with our roots on the savannah, evolved to spend our days wandering in search of berries or pursuit of prey.
→We no longer do what we evolved to do!
We are not designed to spend our day sitting on our bottoms staring fixedly at a
computer screen or in a car seat staring at the road ahead, or for any of the other
activities of our modern life that are so far from our origins.
During the day, a person flexes their spine on average between 1,500 and 4,000 times while extending their spine, at best by less than half of that. This imbalance in motion, over time, develops an increased kyphotic posture (rounded back), off-centered joint positions and asymmetrical musculature. The damage starts here!
Mentally: we have unnatural pressures that bear on us all the time and today’s life is complicated by the sheer variety and duration of circumstances and information that affect us. Thus a person with an oversized mortgage, an unpleasant commute and an unhappy job will tend to have a worn-out demeanour with the posture to show it: round shoulders and a curved spine.
4. Poor posture: effects and cost
Muscles will suffer through lack of circulation, poor oxygenation and lactic acid (toxic metabolic waste).
It may manifest as:
tension, burning sensation, pain or inflammation
lack of performance, tiredness
poor concentration, low energy
repetitive strain injury
diminished muscles strength / tremors
Joints and ligaments (tissue fibres which bind bones together) will stiffen through incorrect use, lack of use or through dehydration:
This in turn may manifest as:
reduced mobility / flexibility
premature wear and tear in joints
disc compression in the spine leading to
pressure on the nerves that fan out from the spine
Nerves will be stretched, inflamed, compressed or impinged by mis-aligned joints.
It may manifest as:
tingling, pins and needles
hot or cold feeling
nerve pain: sciatica
All the above symptoms potentially contribute to absenteeism at work or in schools, to reduced productivity, to poor health, to low morale, and to escalating human and financial costs.
As an example in the workplace, every employee’s absence is the culmination of a chain of events. The loss to an organisation or business is not just the staff member who takes time off because of back pain or posture-related repetitive strain injuries, but also the reduced efficiency, morale and attitude of those who suffer posture-related discomfort or stress and who ‘grin and bear it’ and have to provide extra work in order to cover for absences.
Although we refer largely to work at computer workstations in the above, the principles apply to any work activity and to your whole life – relaxation, hobby, sport, housework, childcare, in fact any activities which involve the use of our bodies.
Applying the following simple workplace posture and ergonomics techniques and principles will improve your working environment and well-being.
to be continued
End of POST 1 part 2