Having bad posture or poor spinal alignment not only can make you appear less confident, but can cause real and lasting health effects.
Poor posture means that your spine is not in correct alignment or position. The spine naturally has three curves in it as shown in the photo below. The ideal spinal shape includes a slight curve in the neck region to support the head, this region is called the cervical spine (in red). The thoracic spine is the longest section of the spine which runs from clavicle (collarbone) to your lower back and has a slight natural outward curve (blue/green). Your lower back region or lumbar spine has a slight inward curve. The bottom portion of your spine which runs through your pelvis has a slight outward curve before ending at your sacral joint.
As you can see, our spine naturally curves which allows it to flex, move and bend throughout the day. Problems can arise when we place our spine in unnatural positions for long periods of time without compensating with the correct movements.
For instance, using a computer for long periods of time can cause our head and neck to pull forward towards the screen (a condition called forward head posture) which can cause stiffness or pain. When we use our devices for extended periods of time without taking breaks or stretching, we can develop rounded shoulders and tight chest muscles which can cause us to look hunched back. Sitting also causes our hip flexor muscles to tighten and pull on our pelvis which can contribute to poor posture and lower back pain.
What can poor posture lead to?
Poor posture can contribute to:
Lordosis or excessive inward curving of the lower spine, which can cause lower back pain
Kyphosis or excessive outward curving of the thoracic spine, can cause stiffness, soreness and permanent disfigurement as you age
Muscular imbalances can cause joint pain, stiffness and reduced range of motion
Poor posture can exacerbate arthritis as misaligned joints rub against and wear away on each other
A misaligned body doesn’t move as easily or efficiently which requires more energy and can cause you to fatigue faster than a person with correct posture and better bodily alignment
Inflammation and chronic pain can stem from poor spinal alignment
What Is Ideal Posture?
Ideal posture essentially means that your spine is following its natural curves. A straight line should go from your ears to your hip joint and run through your shoulder joint.
How can we use a Gravity Ball™ to improve our posture and spinal alignment?
By practicing extension-based movements that open the spine and chest, we can work to reverse the effects of poor posture and allow our spine and nearby joints to properly align.
Here is a movement that many of us can do. While sitting in a chair, hold a Gravity Ball™ above you with both hands and make a straight line from your hips to your hands. This will help you to align your body correctly and practice perfect posture.
This is an advanced yoga movement but the idea of opening up the chest, shoulder joints and spine to reverse the hunching forward motion is well demonstrated. This also shows how correct posture allows us to use joints like our shoulders through their full range of motion.
This stretch done below in a lying position allows you to maintain a straight spine while opening up your shoulder joints.
By practicing these extension-based movements that open up the chest and pull the shoulders back we can naturally reverse the forward arching movements we do throughout the day to help prevent poor posture from taking root. Take a break from your day to try some of these stretches and start building a stronger spine.
Start Working On Your Spinal Alignment With a Gravity Ball™ Today!