Developing and maintaining good posture in childhood is important for good health.

Developing and maintaining good posture in childhood is important for good health.

Posture is the position of your body when you sit or stand. When you look at the spine from behind it should look like it runs in a straight line but when viewed from the side, it should have natural curves.

Good posture allows us to sit or stand with minimal effort and without causing strain on our bodies. It also helps us avoid developing pain and stiffness. Braces and splints are not usually required to achieve a good posture. We encourage children to do this actively through exercise to build up their muscles.

What causes poor posture?

There are two types of poor posture:

  • correctable
  • fixed

Correctable posture is usually caused by sitting or standing in a slouched position over a long period of time, whereas fixed cannot be altered and restricts movement.

Why do we need good posture?

Your back is made up of 33 bones with discs in-between. These are supported by ligaments and muscles to keep you upright, protect your spinal cord, allow you to move and be pain free.

Bad posture may result in muscle imbalance (such as tightness or weakness) causing your muscles and joints to start to complain giving you back pain. It’s likely that this may build up over time without you being aware of it, and suddenly cause you pain which may be in your neck, back, arms, legs or even headaches.

Things that do not help

Carrying heavy school bags

Sitting for long periods

Writing, using computers or gaming consoles with poor posture

Lack of exercise and tiredness

Sleeping with poor posture

Ways to improve your posture

The right school bag

Many studies show that around 30% of school age children have back pain or neck pain. The style of school bag used and some practical tips on reducing stress on the spine may reduce the likelihood of this.

Regular movement breaks

Make your child does not stay in the same position for too long. Encourage them to get up and move as even staying in positions with good posture makes muscles feel tired. They should stand or sit with even weight distribution through their legs.

Sitting correctly

It is important for all children to sit properly when writing. Being seated properly gives a child good stable posture from which they can develop their handwriting. A well supported trunk is essential for good shoulder control.

Sleeping with good posture

Sleeping without enough or with too many pillows causes your neck to tilt. To ensure a better sleeping position, make sure you use a pillow which fills the space between your head and shoulder, keeping your spine in a neutral position.

Exercising well

Doing physical activities helps to strengthen balance, which offers positives for all children.

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