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Work on good posture

Published:Wednesday | April 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Kenneth Gardner, Gleaner Writer

Some people have poor posture because of injury, malnutrition, muscular weakness, heredity, ill-fitting clothes and habit. Poor posture due to foot and leg anomalies can result in poor alignment that makes our joints unstable and more prone to injuries.

Sprains of the foot, ankle or knee often result from poor walking or running mechanics. Abnormal curvature of the spine increases its susceptibility to dislocations. If these injuries become chronic when faulty alignment persists, poor posture usually results.

Diseases that weaken bones, muscles, joints or ligaments upset our range of movement and the control of our posture. Our posture can also be affected by feelings of satisfaction, happiness and self-confidence. Depression, failure and low self-esteem can be reflected in poor posture.

For our body to function at its best, no unnecessary strain should be placed on our muscles, bones and so on. To prevent faulty posture, we should use the proper techniques for lying down, sitting, standing, working, walking and exercising. When our body position is correct, our organs will have enough room to function normally and efficiently.

Even when we are at rest, we need to pay attention to our posture because it is possible to strain muscles of the neck or back while lying down. Learning to live with good posture under all circumstances will allow us to gradually develop the proper carriage and stronger muscles needed to protect and support our body.

By exercising, we are able to develop and maintain strong, healthy tissues, bones and muscles. If injuries are sustained, especially when we lack fitness, they are likely to weaken our support and throw our framework out of balance. For the duration of an injury, we will be unable to maintain our ideal posture. On recovery from the injuries, the habits established to accommodate them may persist and the faulty posture then becomes permanent.

In many cases of faulty posture, our bones and muscles are normal but the problem is bad habit and poor coordination of parts of the body, which we then become accustomed to. Ill-fitting seats, shoes, and clothing can lead to faulty posture. Good posture must be practised so that it becomes permanent.

Dr Kenneth Gardner is an exercise physiologist at Holiday Hills Research Center; email: