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Posture typically refers to the way that a person holds his body, and correct posture can be thought of as the proper alignment of the spine and body. Correct posture is something that is often overlooked, even though it has a number of benefits. Good posture is not maintained by keeping the back completely straight, although this is a common misconception. Correct posture is actually achieved by maintaining the three normal back curves.
When looking at a human body from the side, the spine should ideally be curved in a few spots. The cervical spine makes up the neck, and it should be curved out slightly. Next, the thoracic, or upper, portion of the back should curve out slightly, and the lumber, or lower, part of the back should curve in slightly. A variety of things can cause poor posture, but many experts agree that bad habits are the biggest culprit. Working to achieve better posture is relatively simple, but it often takes a conscious effort.
When trying to maintain correct standing posture, a person can imagine a line drawn down the side view of his body while standing. Starting from the ears, this line should pass through the shoulders down to the hips and knees, and finally through the side of the ankle bone. According to experts, the head should be held up and straight, not falling forward, back, or to the side. In addition, earlobes should line up with the center of the shoulders, which should be held back slightly and parallel with the hips. He can then stand with his feet roughly shoulder-width apart to help distribute weight evenly.
In a sitting position, correct posture is equally important. When sitting, good posture can be maintained by keeping the feet resting flat on the floor and the knees at about the same height as the hips. As with standing, a person should keep his shoulders back and parallel with the hips. If sitting at a computer desk, it is advised that a person should not lean forward to look at the screen or slouch in the chair. It is also advisable to take frequent breaks to stretch when sitting for a prolonged period of time.
Correct posture has a number of advantages. Most importantly, it helps maintain optimum health of the body and helps reduce wear and tear, especially on the joints, muscles, and ligaments. Many times, correct posture can result in less aches and pains. In addition to physical health, it is also believed to help obtain a better appearance and, in turn, higher self-esteem.
Obesity and other health problems, such as spinal conditions, are reasons that a person may have poor posture. Most experts agree, however, that it is a person's bad habits that most contribute to poor posture. When it comes to maintaining correct posture, many experts agree that there are a few things that people can do. Things such as high heeled shoes, overstuffed backpacks, and slouching are considered to be very detrimental to good posture.