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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 4, No. 4 - July/August 2012

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Posture & Modern Technologies

By Dorte Bladt

I remember having the most wonderful experience when I was about 10 years old: I was the kingpin of my neighbourhood, the popular girl, the one everyone wanted to play with after school for a few precious weeks.

My father worked at a computer company and inherited an old computer when the company upgraded. We had the first PC in town! It took up half the space in the spare room, it was so huge.

We all squeezed in around the computer and stared at the wonder of this new amazing phenomenon and took turns to play 'Pacman'; where little grey half circles could be manoeuvred by typing on the key board so they could gobble something that fell from the sky.

The novelty wore off pretty quickly and my status returned to normal: it really was much more fun playing tips, ball games and murder in the dark than waiting your turn to push buttons on a noisy machine which had to be rebooted.

Technology has come a long way, and has made life so much easier with regards to our everyday tasks, communication and instant access to information as well as games.

The downside is a decrease in activity levels accompanied by poor posture. The two go hand in hand-the less you move the weaker you get and the harder it is to keep the spine upright and straight.

Posture is incredibly important for health, wellness and proper function of the body:

Homework Tips

  • "Posture affects & moderates every physiologic function from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse & lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by
    posture."
    (American Journal of Pain Management 1994, 4:36-39.(1))
  • "The more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy is available for healing, metabolism, & thought."
    (Roger Sperry, Ph.D. Noble Prize in Physiology 1981)
  • Many mental functions, including concentration, memory & cognitive ability depend on the flow of blood & energy from the body's core to the brain. Any misalignment in posture, especially as it relates to the neck & head, can impact blood & energy flow & hence function. (NDHealthFacts)

On average 50% of an Australian's day is spent sitting. Prolonged sitting without a break slows processing of fats, glucose and other substances and increases the risk of developing chronic disease - even when recommended physical activity levels are met.

Poor Posture

  • Head in front of shoulders
  • Shoulders rolled forward
  • Slouching
  • Forward pelvis & belly
  • Hip rotation causing toes to point in or out
  • Hips & shoulders that aren't level

Up to 90% of people experience poor posture. As you are reading this I know you are thinking, I tell my kids to sit/stand up straight all the time and it doesn't make any difference. What to do?

First of all, this is what good posture looks like, so check your child's posture straight away:

Good Posture Viewed From the Side

  • Ear should be in line with the shoulder
  • Shoulders directly over hips
  • Hips over knees over anklebones
  • Normal, natural curves of the spine, forward curve in neck & lower
  • back & backwards curve in the middle back

Good Posture Viewed From the Back

  • Shoulders even
  • Waist & hips level side to side
  • Weight distributed evenly through both Feet
  • Head & neck straight on top of spine & tailbone

If your child's posture, or your own for that matter, isn't ideal, the time to do something about it is NOW!

Regular exercise is beneficial for your posture as it builds up core strength. Your core is what helps you to maintain better posture during your daily activities, and decreases the stress on your spine.

Every day you need to undertake movement especially activities that raise your heart rate counts; walking, jogging, bike riding, playing sport, skateboarding, surfing, vacuuming and washing the car.

Encourage your children to get out and run around with their friends in their breaks at school, rather than going to the library to play on the computer. Make sure they take part in lots of activities after school: playing with friends, building cubbies, climbing trees, helping with cooking as well as organised sport.

Try to keep screen time to one hour or less per day. This includes TV, computer, Nintendo, play stations, iPads, and any handheld devices.

Children under two years of age should not watch any screens at all.

If you have a sit down job or are studying the trick is to get up and move for at least five minutes every hour. This could be to get a glass of water, to go to the toilet, to ask someone a question or simply to stand and stretch your body. Make sure your work station (or your child's) is set up properly.

Good Posture Computer Use Tips

  • Sit about one arms-length from the monitor
  • Have the monitor positioned so the centre of screen is at eye level &
  • tilt it upwards slightly
  • Keep the alphabetical section of keyboard centred to you
  • Keep your wrists in neutral position when working with mouse &
  • keyboard, not bent up or down
  • Only use wrist rests while resting, not when typing
  • Sit so hips, elbows & knees are at open angles (slightly more than 90 degrees).
  • Recline slightly to ease lower back pressure
  • Have thighs parallel to floor
  • Ensure feet are flat on floor (or use footrest)

Remember that good posture is essential for good health, and that you can make a difference to improve your posture and your health by making small changes in your life; today and every day!

About Dorte Bladt

Dorte specialises in posture and spinal health. She checks your spine to assess if the bones, muscles or ligaments are working properly and will gently, safely and naturally correct it to allow the body and the nervous system to function better. Dorte also provides advice on which exercises would be beneficial as well as which position to sleep, stand and sit in for the best possible posture.

More Information

Dorte Bladt
Doctor of Chiropractic
Family Chiropractic Centre Charlestown
2 Lincoln St, Charlestown NSW 2290
P: 02 4942 4842
info@familychiropracticcharlestown.com.au
www.familychiropracticcharlestown.com.au

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