Stop reading this for a second and consider how you're sitting (or standing for that matter) right now. Are you slouching? Are your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles all aligned? If you just answered "yes and no" then you should seriously continue reading and learn more about how to improve your posture and ultimately, your overall health.
Posture refers to the "carriage of the body" and how it's positioned in relation to the alignment of the head, shoulders and limbs. You've probably heard that having a straight spine is ideal but this is impossible.
The human spine has a series of natural curvatures which is necessary to not only accommodate the biokinetic make-up of the body, but also these curvatures actually strengthen the spine and help keep the body upright and stable.
A person with a neutral posture (or good posture) will tend to have a more balanced disposition and he/she will usually experience less stress to the joints, vertebrae, muscles and tissue than those who have a non-neutral (bad) posture.
Slouching not only increases the load on your lower back, it also elevates your diaphragm, resulting in an insufficient breathing mechanism and preventing you from giving your organs, muscles and tissues the optimal amount of oxygen they need to function at their very best.
But we're just scratching the surface here...having a bad posture can lead to more severe health conditions and poor nutrition combined with fatigue only compounds the problem.
The spine naturally strengthens the muscles in your back and shoulders by giving them a central point of reference and resistance, loading and unloading your muscles as you move and therefore, enabling them to help support your upper body.
The catalyst for bad posture occurs from the very beginning...as soon as your spine and body start moving out of alignment. Any adjustment from a neutral posture means that the muscles become unbalanced, one group of muscles start receiving more load while the opposite group of muscles - who should be balancing the load - receive less resistance.
Like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, your spine starts moving in the direction of least resistance and hence your slouching and non-neutral posture gets worse.
How does this all happen? Well, we could blame the modern age of computers and desk-based jobs but that would only mask the actual gist of the problem without actually getting to the cause of developing a bad posture.
Sure, sitting hunched over your computer for 8 hours a day is hardly good for your spine. However, there are loads of exercises and stretching techniques which can really help improve your back muscles and condition your posture. Yoga, Pilates and the Alexander Technique are great examples of this. A quick search online or at your local bookstore should help you find some books and other useful info.
But all this will be useless unless you address the cause of your slouching and bad posture. It's like building the world's strongest building on clay or sandy foundations, if you don't get the basics right from the beginning you'll be fighting a losing battle. This is where proper nutrition comes into play.
Nutrient deficiency not only weakens the bones and muscles that help keep your spine and body upright, it also robs your body of energy, leading to fatigue which is another factor that contributes to poor posture.
By getting the right nutrients into your body everyday, it's never too late to start improving your posture from a cellular level, strengthening your bones and skeletal system as well as the muscles and organs that make up your body.
The Total Balance range of supplements from Xtend-Life are comprehensively formulated to provide your body with all the vitamins, nutrients, minerals, amino acids and other specialty nutrients that it may need to fight fatigue and to help improve overall functionality and health.
Xtend-Life has a few other products which you can use in combination with the Total Balance to help boost your energy levels and ensure that your bones and muscles are in good health to help boost your posture.
Bone-Protec contains 11 specific active ingredients to help strengthen and protect your skeletal system for improved posture. It also helps provide effective protection against bone density loss...a common factor in osteoporosis, a condition that affects over 10 million Americans every year and inevitably leads to weak bones and is also a leading cause for kyphosis (the spinal condition known as 'hunchback') in the elderly.
Finally, Omega 3 QH / Ultra contains ubiquinol, the reduced form of CoQ10 that the body can readily use and is between 3 to 6 times more potent than normal CoQ10. This ultimately means that the body can produce more energy more often, helping prevent fatigue and keeping you energized at the office while sitting at your desk...reducing the risk of you slouching forward in a hunched position.
By combining these world-class supplements with strengthening, conditioning and stretching techniques, you'll be on the road to a healthier spine and an improved posture.