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Good Posture: Teach Your Kids Now, Not Later!

The whole idea of good posture can be briefly described as:

bad posture = stress on muscles and joints = health problems and an ingredient in developing scoliosis

Remember how teachers or dance instructors taught the practice of walking back and forth with a book on their heads? Ever hear the athletic coach yell “keep that back straight” or work safety counselors encouraging workers to bend their knees when lifting heavy objects?

Good posture is not just standing straight. It also involves proper sitting and lying down. The main idea is: good posture aligns your body and evenly distributes the stress on muscles, ligaments and tendons so that discomfort is avoided. Good posture also decreases the risk of injury in adulthood.

Our suggestion? Good posture must be taught at a young age.

When stress is evenly distributed, the muscles of the body work more efficiently and help lower wear and tear on joints. Since all organs are connected by muscles, nerves and ligaments, they must have the support they need to work efficiently.

Good Posture and your Child: 4 + 1 Reasons

1. Better Appearance, More Confident Gait

You know teens and their hot buttons. When you tell your teenage daughter not to put on too much make-up, they retort quickly saying “I want to look good. Attractive girls are asked out more often than the plain Janes.”

So since “looking good” is important, teach her that good posture will make her look better. When she stands tall, walks straight and sits properly, her body image improves. She’s telling the world, “hey, look at me. I feel good, and therefore look good!”

Encourage your kids to stand taller. Ask them to practice touching the ceiling with the back of their head (imaginary). Over time, that habit will lead to an true postural change and accompanying self-confidence. People will notice. It will boost their popularity rating in school.

2. No pain, no gain. But really…who wants pain?

Let’s face it. Developing good posture habits early in life could mean fewer aches and pains later. It boils down to a healthy spine. When the spine is aligned and balanced, your bones and muscles function better.

In fact, doctors say that irregularities in the spine are usually diagnosed in the child’s first seven years. By having their spines checked at a young age, doctors are better able to recommend specific correction strategies. While they say that most cases are not a major source of concern, proper posture will help kids avoid health problems as they age. When the spine is constantly subjected to tension and pressure, the small bones (vertebrae) can and do misalign or as we chiropractic doctors say ‘they spine causing painful symptoms. Tell your child that pain – lower back, neck, headaches, sore muscles, or tendonitis – can restrict him from engaging in his favorite activities. He does want to be the best little leaguer in the team, right?

3. More efficient breathing

When your child sits in a slumped position or his shoulders sag, this “lazy-boy” demeanor affects his breathing, preventing him from breathing more deeply. We all know the consequences of improper breathing. The lungs and diaphragm don’t move and expand properly when we’re inhaling and exhaling.

Ask your child to do a little experiment: when he’s in a crouched position, ask him how he’s breathing. Let him remain in this position for 60 seconds. Now ask him to sit up straight and to inhale and exhale. Does he feel more power in his lungs because he’s taking in more air when his posture is straight?

4. Tummy Tuck or Tummy In?

Observe a person who habitually slouches. Does she look like she’ll need a tummy tuck by the time she hits 30?

Like smoking, sitting the wrong way can be hazardous to your child’s health. The Mayo Clinic reports that 50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours sitting a day, and 20 to 35 percent spend four or more hours a day watching TV. And if that sitting includes slouching, what do you think happens to the abdominals? They weaken, and can possibly cause back pain and other discomforts. This can and will affect overall health as an adult. Habits are formed when young and are hard to change as an adult.

We once spotted a young child who was sitting with one arm supporting her head and the other hand texting a message. She looked like a huge letter “S”. She was in this position for 20 minutes, and when she stood up, you could see the fat from her middle jutting out through her tight t-shirt. She must have been 13 or 14, but she looked like a tired 30! If her posture had been more straight, our impression would have been more positive!

5. And of course…higher energy!

Your teen seems to zoom in and out of the house hundreds of times in a day and does not even have time to chat for a minute. You ask them something and you don’t hear their answer because they’ve disappeared into the underbush.

It makes sense therefore to tell them that if they want to