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Why Kids Need to Have Good Posture

chaparral-kid-tabletDid you know that proper posture is vital to the function and maintenance of every part of your body—not just the muscles and joints? It also can impact organ-related health and can affect your longevity.

Roger Sperry, Ph.D., and Nobel Prize winner stated, “The more mechanically distorted a person is the less energy is available for thinking, metabolism and healing.” Stuck or distorted postures are the opposite of what I term a “power posture,” and we’re much less efficient at being able to move throughout the day.

What Poor and Good Posture Looks Like

I’ve spoken to junior high school kids about posture and often will demonstrate what you look like when you’re sad or depressed. With that posture your shoulders are rounded, you hunch forward, and your head pushes forward. That’s a poor, inefficient posture.

When I ask these young people to go into the power posture (the superhero posture where they feel confident and ready to respond and take on a task), they pull their shoulders back and down, and their heads go up. I have kids sit up after their adjustments and do a little bit of curve corrective work in the upper spine and neck area.

When the kids sit up their natural tendency is to be in a slouched position or posture. I will gently push toward the middle back and ask them to sit up. I will often comment, “You just grew 2-3 inches—you’re so much taller in that position!”

Do Posture Checks

It’s also a good idea to do posture checks on a regular basis. I like the wall test. Stand against a wall with your heels to the wall to see where your head is. You can see how far away from the wall your head is and if your shoulders are hunched forward.

Can you open your arms up so that your forearms touch the wall? Can you carry them up over your head? Most people can’t because of tightness through the chest. They’re locked into a forward head position. I always try to increase awareness, so people are more apt to take action and make improvements.

Tips for Technology Time

As technology is here to stay and kids are using it at younger and younger ages and for longer periods, it’s crucial that they adopt good posture when using tablets or phones. Here are some helpful tips to follow:

  1. Minimize the usage of technology. It’s ideal for parents to set limits on screen time.
  2. Sit up straight when using technology. A child’s chest should be out and shoulders back.
  3. Hold the screen up at eye level. I’ll often suggest if a child is using a phone or iPad at home to sometimes lie on the floor on their stomachs. That position forces their head to go into a more upright forward curve in the neck position, which can help.
  4. Lift your head and look up toward the sky when using technology. Do 5-10 reps on that, so you’re extending through the neck. Doing so reverses against that forward flex head-down posture to activate those muscles that are overstrained or overstretched.

If you’d like a postural evaluation for yourself or your child, contact our practice today!

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