Doctor's Orders

How Good Posture

Boosts Your Immune System

By Randee Engelhard, MPT, PAS, AET, PCES

 

Especially in current times, we are all hoping to stay as healthy as possible. Posture can have positive effects on your immune system, and tension caused by poor posture can lead to pain and chronic conditions.

 

Working from home may be helpful for your posture, with the ability to move around more often and change positions including standing, sitting, tall kneeling or even lying down on your stomach using pillows as needed for comfort. In addition, working from home gives people the chance to take exercise or movement breaks. As a Posture Alignment Specialist, I give my own clients instructions to take posture breaks throughout the workday to help keep their bodies feeling their best.

 

If you don’t have a proper workstation set up at home, it could create aches and pains in your body. It may be enticing to slouch in bed or on the couch while you work, but these habits can wreak havoc on your posture.

 

Why is posture so important?

There are many pathways to transport different fluids and cells throughout the body.  Some of these pathways or tracts are arteries, veins, nerves and lymph vessels. These tracts run from our brain down to our toes, and any kind of kink in the lines affects the ability of our systems to work optimally, just like a kink in a water hose.

 

Deviations can decrease the flow of oxygen, transmission of hormones or neurotransmitters, and especially lymphatic fluid which expels waste products from the body.  The lymphatic system has no pump on its vessels; it requires muscle movement or gravitational change in body position to help the flow back toward the heart. This is how we fight viruses and infections.

 

Tips for Good Posture

  • When sitting at a desk, work on increasing the time you can sit upright with your legs uncrossed and feet flat on the floor. Roll your hips forward forming a small arch in low back (use your hips and not muscle movement in the low back as this can cause tension). Position your shoulders over your hips creating an upright posture, with your chin level to the ground. Start with a few minutes at a time.
  • Change positions throughout the day and take extra opportunities to walk with your head upright (put your phone in your purse or pocket). Relax your shoulders from being held up by your ears, engaging your shoulder blades slightly in the back. If you must use your phone, stop and hold your phone upright so you are not hanging your head.
  • Practice standing tall, with your chin level to the ground. Reach your arms overhead a few times a day keeping your shoulders more mobile. This will help to encourage the natural circulation system of the body.

It is interesting to see more and more experts connecting posture to chronic pain and to overall health and wellness. Posture determines factors like the quality of our immune system, which is especially crucial at this moment in time. Posture is no longer just about looking good on the outside.

 

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About Randee Engelhard

Randee Engelhard is a certified Posture Alignment Specialist through Egoscue Institute at the advanced level, in addition to being a licensed Physical Therapist. She provides Posture Alignment Therapy through in person or virtual, and physical therapy in person. She specializes in treating back pain, sciatica, and sacroiliac dysfunction utilizing posture therapy or manual therapy.

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