Straighten up: A lesson in proper posture — and what it can do for your health

MILWAUKEE -- Do you suffer from poor posture? It's a problem that's become more prevalent. Dr. Nicholas Wilson joins Real Milwaukee to talk about the issues your poor posture could create -- and offer some advice on straightening up.

Poor posture is an epidemic:

Something that most of you already know is that we are all heavily dependent on technology and have a much more sedentary life than past generations. This is the root cause for why our posture is such a significant problem in today's world.

Two very important things:
1. How does posture affect the function of the body?
2. What three simple things you can do today to work on better posture?
How it affects the function of the body:

  • The brain talks to the body using our spinal cord and when our spine is not working properly, the brain has a much harder time communicating with the body.
  • Think about the way your brain communicates with your body as a cell phone service. Your spinal cord is the primary transmitter of signals. Think about when you are on a phone call and the service is bad
  •  It gets choppy,  you get every other word, and not only do you have no idea what`s happening on the other end but you have to work really hard to try to figure out what`s happening on the other side
  • So just like a poor cell phone signal, bad posture causes a similar disconnect between what your brain is trying to send your body.

That being said, it is very important that those messages get transmitted properly or your body will not function to the best of its ability:

  • Poor posture can impact major systems in the body for example:
    Your lungs: 30% decrease the air entering the lungs.
  • Your brain: Have you ever had of 'Brain Fog' well did you know that poor posture is one of the reasons you may have difficulty concentrating. Proper posture increases blood circulation increasing oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
  • Your hormones: Study done by Dr. Amy Cuddy who did a great TED talk, and that study showed hormone levels could be improved for both males and females by improving posture.
  • Your energy levels: When your Leaning forward all day your fighting gravity to hold yourself up.
  • Your balance and coordination: Our brain knows exactly where our body is supposed to be and poor posture will in effect confuse your brain about where your body is positioned.

FIXES -

The great thing about posture is that it can be fixed, and you can start fixing it right now! And you will see immediate improvement on the functions we just discussed.

When sitting at your desk: Ideally you should have your computer monitor at eye level or higher, legs at 90 degrees, and elbows at 90 degrees.

Sitting on an exercise ball. There is no support so it forces you to sit properly. It`s also quite a work out, and not something I recommend you doing for a full day when you first start.

Holding Cell phone eye level

Lifting using your legs (have host pick up exercise ball) and when carrying something avoid twisting to move the object. The discs in our spine are much weaker when you twist and could cause an injury.

A great exercise you can do that is called Brugger`s posture breaks (demonstrate and have hosts follow along) you should do this every 30 minutes and hold the position for 10-20 seconds.