Sometime around the lockdown period, a work-from-home enthusiast interjected during a casual coffee table conversation over the long sedentary work sessions we’d all been faced with :
“Does posture matter all that much?” He asked.
This is what we think :
It absolutely does. Period.
A sound posture is perhaps one of the most important and least appreciated aspects of human health. We live in a world where we make a million poses to take that perfect selfie yet fail to keep track of the bad posture in which we sit for hours in front of a screen. No wonder we have a great number of young adults complaining about backaches. And such postural problems beset adolescents what should be staring at them in their eighties!
And if you are someone who finds this relatable, you are not alone. Consider this :
- Back pain is one of the world’s biggest health problems and among the most common medical conditions with 80% of adults experiencing it during their lifetime.
- 10% of the world’s population suffers from lower back pain.
- Back pain is the No. 1 cause of disability worldwide.
So how did we end up here?
The reason is simple: we failed to realize the great significance of a correct posture.
From Becoming Human to Being Human
Look at the image above carefully and ask yourself: What changes do you see?
Our posture is really an evolutionary gift handed to us by thousands of years of a gradual evolutionary process. Yet we massively undervalue this gift, the result of which is a plethora of health problems with physical and emotional consequences.
The importance of an upright posture is captured by the fact that the bipedal locomotion of humans was one of the first triggers to the development of homo sapiens as a species, distinct from the other hominid categories – an event which took place sometime between 13 million and 6 million years ago.
Our current posture of walking upright preceded our current brain size in the evolutionary timeframe. In fact, Charles Darwin in his book The Descent of Man suggested that standing upright was crucial in freeing up the forelimbs and the newfound hands of our ancient forefathers could then be used to make tools and carry out a complex task, thus contributing to the development of the brain itself. Furthermore, when our ancestors left the treetops to forage on the ground, the most energy-efficient way to move on the ground was to walk bipedally.
We often overlook the evolutionary significance of our posture. But then again, we are reminded of how great an achievement our upright posture really is whenever we see a mother beaming with joy as she witnesses her baby transitioning from a process of crawling to standing upright and taking her baby steps towards life!
But then again, because we are humans, we end up forgetting to value things that matter the most … until one morning we wake up with an aching back or a stiff neck!
Posture and Health
They say sitting is the new smoking. And surely, bad posture is an invitation card to ill health.
In addition to the health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle, our bad posture can affect our health, mood, productivity, and even success.
Posture-related problems are so common that it is very easy to miss them in our daily lives. Hard to believe?
Check it out yourself :
Lower Back Pain – The perennial posture problem we’ve all felt at some point in our lives when our back hurts excruciatingly and we feel as old as a dinosaur.
Hunchback – An abnormally curved spine most common in older women, work-from-home folks, and gamers.
Forward Head– Commonly called Text Neck, iHunch or iPosture (Not kidding. LMAO Apple!), this form of repetitive strain injury is a major cause of neck pain and cervicogenic headache.
Flat Feet – A condition where arches of the feet don’t develop due to genetic predisposition, an injury, bad posture, or aging.
Forward Hip Tilt – Occurs when the pelvis tilts or rotates forward. We’d rather be gentle here and refrain from adding any further comments!
On the flip side, the health benefits associated with good posture are equally rewarding.
So here’s what you have to gain from a good posture :
1. Leave behind your Back Pain.
2. Headaches…What are those?
3. Reduced stress on joints and bones.
4. Enhanced breathing by maximizing lung capacity.
5. Impressive impact on mental health – a correct posture increases self-confidence, boosts mood and relieves anxiety.
6. A great posture greatly impacts your body language and nonverbal communication – something to watch out for in job interviews, business meetings, and negotiations.
Now that we’ve fully understood the significance of a good posture, the question is how to improve it?
1. Don’t sit still – You are a human being, not a hamburger. Move.
2. Keep your chin up – Even when looking at your phone.
3. Sit up Straight – Don’t slouch like a pouch in a cozy couch.
4. Get up and walk around – Like you’ve got ants in your pants.
5. Exercise – Exercise. Exercise. Exercise
6. Go to a Pro – Get help from someone like Mobiphysio. These guys fix people better than Facebook fixes its privacy issues.
The Bottomline: Keep Calm and Stretch.