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The Postural Collapse of Our Children

The health of our children is greatly dependent upon their lifestyle habits; the habits that we as parents teach our children. Good eating practices, sleeping habits and stress management are essential. However, one very important lifestyle habit that has been missed and is becoming paramount in this technological era is postural fitness.

Postural fitness is our ability to hold the body upright against gravity in an efficient way. An inefficient body position increases the strain on articulations (bones and joints) of the body thereby causing degeneration and pain.

Where do poor postural habits emerge from? For starters, this technological age of computers, tablets and smart phones have kindly helped in the development of unbelievably poor postural habits in our kids. We have all witnessed a teenager walking on the sidewalk head bent forward, eyes glued to their phone completely unaware of anything going on around them.

This forward head posture causes a great amount of stress to the neck. This can lead to headaches, tight muscles in shoulders and neck and pain down the arms. The rounded spine appearance actually restricts our children’s ability to breathe properly, affects circulation and makes digestion very difficult.

Developing good postural habits leads to raising thriving children that will have a set of principles that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

We need to teach our children how to be mindful of their posture. To be mindful of posture means to have awareness of how our bodies are interacting within its environment. An example of being mindful is remembering to sit up straight at the computer or to relax our shoulders while driving in order to relax the shoulders.

Look at your child’s posture. Is one shoulder higher than the other, head tilting off to one side, head falling forward and are the shoulders rounded forward? You are assessing for postural fitness and if you notice any imbalance they are experiencing postural collapse.

What are some good postural habits that you can start at home? If your child enjoys video games invest in a posture ball or a simple posture cushion that they sit on while playing, engaging their posture and core muscle groups. Encourage your child to be mindful of their standing posture. Weight should be equally distributed on both legs; shoulders should be back and chest up. “Text neck” needs to be discussed with your child. Go on the internet and show them pictures of good and bad posture. When they are on their devices, show them how they should sit up straight, not hunched over.

Backpacks should not exceed 5-10% of the weight of the child. If it is, it’s causing compression to their spine. Make sure they wear both straps and that they pack the heaviest items close to their spine.

Encourage your child to stand up straight, feel proud and make eye contact. Keep in mind, some children slouch because of headaches and poor postural design that has already occurred. Have them assessed by a postural expert such as a chiropractor. When it comes to our children waiting until they have a problem is not an option. Get them assessed today so they can be happy, healthy kids as they were designed to be.

Postural fitness is vital for vibrant, healthy children.

Dr. Erin Johnston, Chiropractor and Certified Posture Expert

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