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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Good Posture Is Essential for Good Health

Nov 30, 2013 03:05PM ● By Adele Aboutok,

Good posture, or the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity, enables us to keep our bones, muscles and internal organs in their natural position. Without good posture, we would not be able to resist gravity — we would just fall down. In addition to allowing us to stand tall and hold our balance, good posture is essential for good health at every age.

Among its many benefits, good posture can:
• Reduce wear and tear on your joints
• Relieve stress and fatigue
• Help your organs work more easily and efficiently
• Improve your performance in day-to-day as well as athletic activities
• Result in not only good health, but also better appearance and self-confidence

Bad posture, or improper body alignment, whether standing, sitting, lying down or moving about, creates a variety of problems:
• Increased pressure on your spine can cause neck and shoulder pain, headache, backache, foot strain and knee pain.
• By compressing your internal organs, bad posture causes chest pain, high blood pressure, and poor digestion and has been found to reduce breathing capacity by up to 30 percent.
• Increased pain can cause you to move less and promote arthritis in your joints.
• Fatigue is the most common result of bad posture because it saps your energy to hold your body in a painful and awkward position.

How can we achieve good posture? We must develop and maintain strong and flexible postural muscles to hold us in our own uniquely natural position. The discipline of physical activity including fitness training can help us maintain good posture.

“The best way to counteract gravity’s impact is to pay attention to good body alignment,” says Charlotte Carey of Randolph, a physical therapist, personal trainer and champion ballroom dancer. “An exercise routine that builds strength evenly through the body, keeps you flexible, and includes balance practice is an excellent approach.”

Carey has developed just such a program, which she calls Posture Fit. This group fitness class combines the use of props and light weights to strengthen and tone core and back muscles while improving balance and coordination. Posture Fit is offered only at the Wellness Center of Northwest Jersey (TWCNWJ) in Randolph.

Health practitioners also recommend Pilates to strengthen proper body alignment. Joseph Pilates is credited with explaining the concept of the core muscles and developing an exercise system that increases flexibility and core strength.

To experience what good posture feels like, sit with your feet hip width and center your ears over your shoulders and shoulders over your hips. Place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your lower back. Then inhale and exhale. As you exhale, lengthen your head toward the ceiling and feel your hands move closer together. Your lower back should feel supported and your abdomen should feel tighter. You have just engaged your core and the muscles around your spine to create a tall, balanced and healthful posture.

The Wellness Center of Northwest Jersey is located in the Randolph Medical Arts Building at 765 Route 10 East, Randolph. Call 973-895-2003 or email [email protected] Visit our website at WellnessCenterNWJ.com for more information.

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