by Mary Louise;Town Jaqua, Health Minister
There is an unseen epidemic in America, and it is
called poor posture. Look around you, and what
do you see? Rounded shoulders, hunched backs,
pot bellies, and necks and chins that jutt out are
just a few common sights in the everyday landscape
of human life. Sadly, poor posture has become
accepted as normal, when in fact, it should not;
for poor posture is unhealthy!
Posture: What is it?
Posture is defined as the carriage of the body.
It is the position in which you hold your body upright
against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down.
The backbone is composed of thirty three vertically
stacked bones, called vertebrae, that are cushioned
by discs. These discs along with the body's spinal
fluid are not enough to protect the spinal cord and
nerves. It is proper posture that best protects
the spine and the rest of the body from injury.
Good posture: What is it and what are its benefits?
Good posture involves training your body to stand,
walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is
placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during
movement or weight-bearing activities. Proper
- keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment
so that muscles are being used properly.
- helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint
surfaces that could result in arthritis.
- decreases the stress on the ligaments holding
the joints of the spine together.
- prevents the spine from becoming fixed in
- prevents fatigue because muscles are being
used more efficiently, allowing the body to use
- prevents strain or overuse problems.
- prevents backache and muscular pain.
Good posture maximizes the body's ability
to perform well. It accomplishes this task by
working in harmony with the force of gravity, thus
optimizing the flow of life-giving oxygen to body
cells, tissues, organs, and muscles. Proper
oxygenation, in turn, increases muscular strength
and mental clarity. Good posture thus
- contributes to physical, mental, emotional,
and spiritual wellbeing
- contributes to a good appearance.
- increases confidence/self respect
Good posture is the conscious awareness that
how the body moves through space is an important
aspect of well being. Correctly caring for the body's
frame so as to avoid strain and abuse is an individual
choice and responsibility. Improving personal posture
improves one's image, and at the same time improves
Poor Posture: What is it?
Poor posture results from musculoskeleton distortion,
i.e. muscles tightening up or shortening while others
lengthen. This tension causes strain, weakness, and
distortion of the body's frame (skeleton). Muscle
tension commonly affects the neck and the lower/upper
back. Classic signs of poor posture:
- Pot belly- exaggerated curve of the lower
back that pushes the abdominal organs
toward the spine
- Rounded shoulders- excessive anterior
curve of the cervical and thoracic spine
- Neck and chin jutting out- excessive anterior
curve of the cervical and thoracic spine
- Humped back-excessive curvature of the
Poor Posture: What causes it?
Poor posture stems from both physical and
emotional causes. One of the most significant origins
of poor posture is repetitive motion without frequent
breaks. Sustaining a certain position for long
periods of time without reprieve causes the spine
to orient itself to that movement and can eventually
bring about forward thoracic curvature. Chronic
muscle tension throws the musculoskeletal system
out of alignment, altering the body's balance and
overall performance. The main causes of poor
- Occupational activities
- Force and repetition
- Job stress
- Trauma- physical or emotional
- Spinal and joint dysfunction
- Sustained immobility (standing, sitting)
- Improper lifting/carrying
- Backpack/purse/computer use
- Poor diet
- Lack of proper exercise
Poor Posture: the adverse affects
Poor posture affects the whole body: physically,
emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Some of
these affects include
- Back, neck, or shoulder pain
- Compromised hearing/eyesight
- Numbness in limbs, jaws, etc.
- Decreased mobility
- Poor equilibrium
- Digestive problems
- Elimination problems
- Respiratory problems
- Heart problems
- Mood swings
- Loss of self-worth
It is common knowledge that improper posture
causes nerve damage and decreased lung
capacity, a problem which reduces the supply
of oxygen to body cells. When nerve and oxygen
supplies are cut off, cells die, and chronic pain
sickness, disease and even death can ensue.
Asthma, blood vessel problems, and heart disease
are a few examples that can result from nerve
blockage and oxygen loss. Likewise, lack of oxygen
affects the entire gastrointestinal system which leads
to altered nutrient absorption and peristaltic activity.
The emotional impact of poor posture is exhibited
in several ways, the most common being mood swings,
lack of confidence, and self-image. In the January 1999
issue of Vegetarian Times, Karin Sullivan in her article
Perfect Posture states, Someone with collapsed or
withdrawn body posture doesnt invite the same kind of
interaction [as someone with good posture]." Most
communication is associated with body language.
Posture is a key aspect of body language. Slumping
over closes one off to others. Someone who is already
depressed can fall farther into depression because no
one will approach them, because their posture indicates
that they dont want to be disturbed.
In Iight of the numerous pitfalls associated with poor
posture, it is important to remember that, if not amended
promptly and correctly, ill-begotten posture can lead to
to increasingly painful experiences in life- physically,
emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Any distress in
the spine, as well as other parts of the body, can be
exacerbated due to prolonged periods of poor posture.
Poor posture will continue to digress the longer
it is left uncorrected. If not corrected, poor posture
eventually feels normal. When poor posture feels
normal, it becomes more difficult to correct because
the muscles have lost their memory for correct posture.
Healthy Posture: How-to's
Improving personal posture is a discipline of body,
mind, and spirit. Desire better posture, work to achieve
it, and it will naturally take place. Follow these tips for
1. DIET- poor posture is often the reflection of poor
nutrition, i.e. a diet that is deficient in vitamins, minerals,
enzymes, anti-oxidants, etc. An under-nourished body
causes physical, emotional, and mental weakness.
Proper diet can correct many structural problems that
contribute to poor posture. A diet of raw, living foods
best addresses the body's nutritional needs.
2. EXERCISE- implementing a regular exercise
routine often helps correct poor posture and maintain
proper posture. Simple stretching exercises reduce
strain on the body's frame while increasing the flow
of oxygen. Rebounding and walking are excellent
solutions for repairing poor posture. Engaging in
these aerobic exercises can naturally align bones
and correct ill posture.
3.EXERCISING BETTER POSTURE:
- Sit up straight in the chair with buttocks touching
the back of the chair. Place feet flat on the floor,
slightly apart. Keep back straight, shoulders back,
and head up. Maintaining this position will optimize
the body's flow of energy which thus improves
- Do not cross the legs. Crossing the legs cuts off
blood circulation and interrupts the flow of the
body's electrical circuit.
- Do not slouch, slump, sit sideways on a chair.
These positions interrupt the body's natural flow
of blood, oxygen, and electrical energy.
- Avoid overstuffed chairs, sofas, and recliners.
They offer little to no support for the body and
cause strain on the coccyx vertebrae.
- Make sure that a chair which is used often
(such as an office chair) is a comfortable fit
for your body. Consider purchasing an adjustable
or ergonomic type chair.
- Use a large exercise ball for a chair. A ball helps
to stretch the back and improve posture through
- Stand tall, stretching the back upward. Hold head
slightly upward with knees slightly bent as opposed
to 'locked.' Feet should be straight forward and
slightly apart. Tuck tummy and buttocks.
- Studies prove that the best sleeping position is
to lie on the body's right side with legs slightly
bent at the knees. Doing so does not put pressure
on body organs, especially the heart. Sleeping on
the right side, stomach or back is known to put strain
on the spine as well as body organs.
- Stretch the body/spine tall. Tuck tummy and
buttocks. Hold head up. Swing arms to the side
and breathe deeply while walking.
4. CHIROPRACTIC HELP- poor posture, especially
as a result of injury, can be improved/corrected through
chiropractic methods. 'Bone doctors' primarily address
structural problems, i.e. skeletal issues. However,
many chiropractors, through adjustments, can resolve
nerve damage that contributes to poor posture. Many
also offer sound, nutritional help.
There was a time in the not-so-distant past in America
when the awareness and hence practice of good
posture was commonplace. Sitting and standing tall
was the reflection of a value system that included
an honest work ethic, pride of accomplishment, and
a high moral code. However, the advent of the 'sexual
revolution' in the 1960's introduced a new 'casualness,'
if not recklessness, into the American culture. The
'women's lib' movement and the new, 'free society'
began to erode America's traditionally high moral
standards, a decline that is now reflected in the lives
of its people. As America's moral character continues
to deteriorate politically, financially, socially, religiously,
etc, it is not surprising to see the expressions of
confusion, discouragement, depression, despair,
and rebellion on people's faces and frames. True to
YHVH's word, when a nation turns from His righteous
laws, it reaps a terrible curse.
Blessed is the nation whose Elohim is
YHVH, The people whom he hath chosen
for his own inheritance.- Psalms 33:12
Be not deceived; YHVH is not mocked:
for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall
he also reap. -Galatians 6:7
Thus as America has gradually fallen away from
YHVH's righteous laws, corruption and destruction
have ensued. Ruin has descended upon our nation
in the form of violence, financial distress, social
unrest, soaring health problems, religious apostacy
and more. Allowing for the widespread lack of jobs,
food, housing, money, medical care, etc., it is no
wonder that Americans are expressing hopelessness
on their faces and wearing it on their bodies. One way
or another, troublous times weigh heavily upon the
human frame. Sadly, the average American lifestyle
has morphed into a sloppy, unkempt posture of body,
mind, and spirit. That our once-great nation has
stooped to this pitiful level is disturbing at best.
While this writing does not intend to glorify or
promote the stiff, rigid posture of our forebears
nor emulate their lifestyle, it does, however, submit
that Americans today have lost an element of life
enjoyed by many of our ancestors, namely the Spirit
of grace. Gone is the awareness that life is sacred
and that the human body is a work of art, a master-
piece of YHVH that should not be thrown around at
will. That we, as a nation, have digressed in our
understanding of who we are and Whom we serve
is a sad commentary about ourselves. For the most
part, we have accepted a quality of life that is less
than what the Almighty intended for us, being inferior
at best. This should not be.
Our ill posture speaks of an inner ill that only YHVH,
through His grace and mercy, can correct. Both
individually and corporately we need to repent for
the error of our ways, and determine to live for the
glory of YHVH and His purposes. It is His Spirit
alone that will heal us and set us free. The Spirit
of grace that was poured out at Calvary is YHVH's
love in action. The Lamb is not dead but lives.
So it is that we must posture ourselves in the
light of YHVH's word in order to experience life
in the fullest. Repenting and amending our
lifestyles for the sake of better health (which
includes healthy posture) is mandatory. We must
never be too proud to accept truth and apply it
daily, otherwise life will pass us by. Hence, if
we want to live and enjoy a healthy, prosperous
life, stand tall! Sit up straight and come alive!
References and further reading:
Mary Bond on posture
Mary Bond- Posture Teacher/coach
Posture for a healthy back- Cleveland Clinic
Bad Posture= Bad Health
Back to Living Letter #89/Index