Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
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And with more desk-based workers operating from home now, it can be easy to sit in positions that might not be the best for our bodies. An expert has advised that good posture could in fact increase your lifespan. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Julie Jennings – an occupational therapist for furniture company HSL – said: “It’s not just your diet that can impact your longevity, poor posture can also have a huge part to play in your life span.
“As a nation, weight issues are becoming more common and as we get older, we tend to put on more weight through natural body and lifestyle changes; coupled with reduced activity this can result in long term health complications.”
She explained: “Weight gain changes how our skeleton and muscles support themselves, which in turn affects our centre of gravity.
“Poor posture will put extra strain and demand on your joints and muscles, leading to fatigue; coupled with poor circulation, where the body does not get enough oxygen, muscles and joints are more easily damaged and less likely to repair.”
According to the NHS, common posture pitfalls include slouching in your chair, standing with a flat back and a hunched back – or “text neck”.
For the following posture problems it advises:
Slouching in a chair – Get into the habit of sitting correctly. It may not feel comfortable initially because your muscles have not been conditioned to support you in the correct position.
Exercises to strengthen your core and buttock muscles, and back extensions, will help correct a slouching posture.
Sticking your bottom out – To help correct your standing posture, imagine a string attached to the top of your head pulling you upwards.
The idea is to keep your body in perfect alignment, maintaining the spine’s natural curvature, with your neck straight and shoulders parallel with the hips.
Standing with a flat back – A flat back also tends to make you lean your neck and head forwards, which can cause neck and upper back strain.
Exercises to strengthen your core, buttocks, neck and rear shoulder muscles, and back extensions, are recommended to help correct a flat back.
Leaning on one leg – Over time, you may develop muscle imbalances around the pelvis area, which can cause muscular strain in the lower back and buttocks.
To improve this posture, try to get into the habit of standing with your weight evenly distributed on both legs.
Hunched back – When hunching over a computer, your head may tend to lean forward, which can lead to poor posture. Using a mobile can cause similar problems dubbed “text neck”.
Upper back, neck and rear shoulder strengthening exercises, chest stretches and neck posture drills are recommended to help correct a hunched back.
Poking your chin – The poking chin posture can be caused by sitting too low, a screen set too high, a hunched back, or a combination of all three.
How to correct a poking chin:
- gently lengthen your neck upwards as you tuck in your chin
- bring your shoulder blades down and back towards your spine
- pull in your lower tummy muscles to maintain a natural curve in your lower back
- adjust your seating
Cradling your phone – Over time, this posture can place strain on the muscles and other soft tissues, and lead to muscle imbalances between the left and right side of your neck.
Try to get into the habit of holding the phone with your hand, or use a hands-free device.
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