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Good posture for a healthy you

Most of us work at a desk or on a computer, and it’s very easy to slip into poor sitting habits. Make sure you follow proper techniques for sitting, standing and driving.

Print Edition: March 23, 2008

Most of us work at a desk or on a computer, and it’s very easy to slip into poor sitting habits. Make sure you follow proper techniques for sitting, standing and driving.

Benefits: Many of us have a variety of bad postural habits. Examples include shoe heels of more than two inches, carrying a heavy bag over one’s shoulder, cradling the phone between your shoulder and ear, and not sitting all the way back in a chair for proper support. Says Dr Manish Dhawan, Consultant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi: “A good posture can contribute to increased energy and stamina, better breathing, proper blood circulation, and improved overall health. It reduces stress, fatigue and general aches and pains in overstressed joints and overused muscles.”

Sitting: Sit with your shoulders back and backbone upright. Your legs should be at a 90 degree angle to your thighs. Says Dr Harshvardhan Hegde, Consultant, Artemis Health Institute, Gurgaon: “Keep your neck, back, and heels in alignment. Avoid the urge to slouch at your desk, and do not sit in the same position for more than 30 minutes at a time.” A small, rolled-up towel or a lumbar roll can help maintain the normal curves of your back.

Standing: Says Dr Dhawan: “Keep most of your weight on the balls of the feet and not on the heels or toes. Your arms should hang naturally.”

Driving: Says Dr Hegde: “Sit with the back firmly against the seat. The seat should be at a proper distance from the pedals and steering wheel.” The headrest should support the middle of the head to keep it upright. Tilt the headrest forward to make sure that the head-to-headrest distance is not more than four inches.

Precaution: If back pain lasts for more than three days, visit an orthopaedic specialist.

— Manu Kaushik

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