Have you ever wondered how life imitates nature? As a tribute to one of our favorite movies, the Karate Kid, from the 80’s, I would like reference one of my first encounters of understanding with the Bonsai tree. The ancient Japanese art form of growing Bonsai trees is actually fascinating. Bonsai trees are essentially normal shrubs that have been consistently stressed in a particular way for a long time to create a posture which would never be found in nature. Depending on how the tree is stressed while it grows, it may end up looking like a miniature version of a full-sized tree, or it may end up looking like a wild tangle of branches with twists and loops.
To most people, “good posture” simply means sitting and standing up straight. Few of us realize the importance of posture to our health and performance.
The human body actually craves alignment. When we are properly aligned, our bones, not our muscles, support our weight, reducing effort and strain on our nervous system.
The big payoff with proper posture is that we feel healthier, have more energy, plus we move and age more gracefully. So while the word “posture” may conjure up images of John Wayne in the old country and western classics or book-balancing school girls, it is not just about standing up straight. It’s about being aware of and connected to every part of yourself.
Posture – The Root To Good Health
Posture actually ranks right up at the top of the list when you are talking about optimal health. It is as important as eating right, exercising, getting proper rest and avoiding potentially harmful substances like alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.
Good posture is a way of doing things with more energy, less stress, and fatigue.
- Without good posture, you cannot really be physically, chemically or mentally fit.
- Without good posture, you can actually physically damage your spine every time you exercise.
- Without good posture, your nerves will not communicate properly with your glands and organs, resulting in all kinds of degeneration and potential chronic diseases.
Ideally, our bones stack up one upon the other: the head rests directly on top of the spine, which sits directly over the pelvis, which sits directly over the knees and ankles. But if you spend hours every day sitting in a chair, if you hunch forward or balance your weight primarily on one leg, the muscles of your neck and back have to carry the weight of the body rather than it being supported by the spine. The resulting tension and joint pressure can affect you not only physically, but emotionally and chemically too.
The Saplings – Our Children
From the very beginning of our children’s lives we are always creating containers or guidelines to help form and develop them into the healthy adults that they will become. As parents of this generation we have encountered a new force that is creating bends and twists in our childrens postures – the smart phones and electronic devices. This repetitive activity over time is now grooming our childrens’ postures to the predictable head forward posture and rolled shoulders. With the unhealthy bends we are seeing the all to clear results of back pain, headaches, short attention spans, depression, indigestion, reflux, high blood pressure, asthma and thyroid problems that are plaguing our youth.
Start Strong – Stay Strong!
As in nature, the earlier one begins a healthy lifestyle the healthier and less dis-ease they will experience.
What Does Your Posture Say About You?
Contact us today and schedule a posture exam. Your posture will be telling all of us more than you think!
For Your Health,
Dr. Steven M. Gillis