All of us are familiar with our mum telling us to sit and stand straight since childhood.
Often, we are still puzzled by the thought of how to keep a proper posture.
Since the way we stand, sit, walk and so on are so heavily ingrained in our subconscious, is changing these habits even possible?
Effects of poor study posture
The importance of proper siting and studying posture as a student cannot be understated.
Some of the negative effects of poor study posture are:
- Neck, shoulder and back pain
- Muscle fatigue/tension
- Pins and needles or numbness
- Eye strain
- Poor spinal development
- Spinal curve changes
- Increased risk of cardiovascular and respiratory disease
- Digestive disorders
How to fix poor study posture
While changing a bad habit may be difficult at first, with time and frequency, any habit can be changed.
If you really put an effort into changing your study posture, the benefits will surely pay off later in your lives.
Below are 5 ways you can start to correct your study posture:
#1 Adjust your monitor height
Whether it is at work or school, the use of computers has become an essential part of our lives, so we need to make sure it is used properly.
To do so, you must adjust the centre of the monitor at your eye level.
This way, your head and neck will be in a neutral position (neither bent forward or tilted backward too much), hence reducing stress/strain on your cervical spine.
Even without spending money on a monitor stand, this can be done by propping your monitor with some books so that it is at your eye level.
If you are using a laptop, you can get a laptop stand to raise its height and use an external mouse and keyboard with it.
Using a laptop for long periods without doing this will place stress and strain on the spine and nervous system.
#2 Change your chair position
The height of your chair should also be adjusted so that your arms can be relaxed on the table comfortably, parallel to the floor.
While siting, your shoulders should be back and relaxed, with elbows bent at 90˚, and wrists comfortably rested on the table.
Your knees should also be bent at 90˚ with the thighs parallel to the floor. In this position, your spine can maintain its natural curve where there is least amount of stress on its joints.
#3 Adjust your foot position
Both of your feet should be flat on the floor. You should avoid crossing legs and feet as this changes the biomechanics of the spine causing uneven weight distribution.
Try this at home: as you sit properly, feel your weight placed evenly into the large bones of your pelvis (the ischial tuberosities!).
Now cross your legs, and feel the difference. What did you notice?
Uneven weight distribution puts a strain on your spinal and supportive tissues and can result in damage as well as poor spinal development in growing children.
If your feet are not touching the floor while siting, you can place a stool or box underneath your feet.
#4 Correct your mouse and keyboard position
Proper placement of your mouse and keyboard is just as important as having your monitor at the right height.
The mouse and keyboard should be positioned directly in front of you. Your shoulder, elbow and wrist should be in a relaxed position while using them.
Keep in mind that there should be no straining or stretching involve while using them for prolonged periods.
Doing this, you can minimise stress on your spine and also the energy needed to maintain your posture.
#5 Taking breaks
One should never underestimate the effect of short rest has on our posture and health.
You should not sit continuously in the same position for more than 30 minutes. Make sure you take a short (30 seconds to a minute) break every half our for a quick stretch (stand up and reach for the ceiling).
Take a longer break every hour (around 5 minutes) and move away from your desk. This creates improved circulation as well as reducing load and tension in your spine.
Do this and note how your feel. You will realise how much tension can build up in just over an hour of sitting still and how multiple short breaks throughout the day will be life savers.
Apply these tips for yourself, and teach your children to do the same.
Helping maintain good posture will help maintain the health of your spine and nervous system.
When your nervous system is working properly, many aspects of your health will be impacted, from body position sense, muscle power, as well as other aspects such as energy, digestion and sleep.
Chiropractors are experts in the care of the spine and nervous system. At Canberra Spine Centre, we help people every day to improve their posture and spinal alignment.
If you’re concerned about you or your child’s posture, and would like to know if we can help, please call us on (02) 6257 9400.
If you would like some more information about the spine and nervous system and how it relates to your health, please check out the other articles on our Facebook page or go to our website: www.spinecentre.com.au