I’m a sloucher. I criticize myself about my posture, but find that when I sit for more than thirty minutes that I can’t keep my head above my spinal chord. It takes a conscious effort to maintain good posture, but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult.
How is bad posture affecting your body? Well, it misaligns your spinal chord. If you’ve ever visited a chiropractor, you’ve heard that misalignment leads to subluxation which is when your vertebrae move out of position, creating pressure that often irritates spinal nerves. This equals pain both in your spine and in other areas that the nerves lead to such as your elbow or wrist. Secondary to this, misalignment places the rib cage over vital digestive organs so that they are constrained by pressure. When this happens they just don’t work as well as they could be.
Luckily, good posture is simple if you are aware of slouching and sustain a conscious mind to correct it. Good posture starts with the foundation: your sit bones. They are at the base of your pelvis and hold your lower back steady underneath your ribcage, shoulder blades and neck. In a slouching position, the sit bones are angled forward versus being grounded toward the earth. Simply pulling the muscles away from the sit bones adjusts your foundation so that the pelvis is directly underneath your upper body.
The next strategy I use to nurture my foundation is a hip-opening stretch. This pulls tension away from the pelvis after hours of sitting. Bring yourself forward on your chair and place your legs out in front of you. Choose either ankle to place across the opposite knee, then slide the leg that is supporting your ankle back to a ninety degree angle or less. You can deepen this stretch by hinging at your hips over the bent leg. Repeat on the opposite side, breathing all the while.
Our spinal health is of paramount importance, just like any other type of infrastructure. So why not focus on strengthening it? You can reap numerous health benefits with these simple spinal adjustments. Happy sitting!