News - Looking after yourself

Do we need to put books on our head to stand correctly?

Remember those old pictures or films you used to see of women walking with books on their heads to improve their posture? Well, back then it was done as part of etiquette lessons to give a woman poise, but does walking with a book on your head really improve you posture?  And if so, is it the best way to improve your posture?

What was the purpose of walking with a book on your head?
It was thought that doing this would encourage you to stand up straight with a straight back, long neck and with your eyes facing forward. Try it and see what happens. You’ll most likely do all those things, and the book may still fall off your head!

What makes good posture?
Good posture is when an invisible vertical line can be drawn down your side from your ear, shoulder, centre of the hips, knee and ankle.

If you’re standing up keep your shoulders and neck relaxed, pull in your abdomen, balance your weight evenly on both feet and keep your knees soft.  It may feel strange initially as your body might have forgotten how to stand straight, but with practice, this will feel more comfortable.

If you’re sitting down, have a look at how you’re sitting. The best way to sit is with your feet flat on the ground, with your knees a little apart. Most importantly, maintain the small arch in your low back. Crossing your legs can twist your spine and puts pressure on your hips and knees. Keep your neck tall too to avoid hunching over.

What impact does bad posture have?
While you don’t need to put books on your head to stand up straight, improving your posture can make a big difference to your body. Slumping or slouching when walking or standing can shorten your muscles, and eventually lead to any number of ailments including back, shoulder and neck pain, and even headaches.  We often see people suffering with pain who see an improvement just by standing and sitting appropriately.

If you think your back, neck or shoulder pain could be linked to your posture, give us a ring on 020 3589 8664 to see how we can help.