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To stretch, or not to stretch? And how can this affect your posture and your health?


When we think of stretching most people envision a yoga or Pilates class, or athletes stretching before or after their sport. But what about the you? Should you be stretching? Does your body even need it?

For the general population, the answer is yes. Most of us are stuck in one of two postures all day long. The most common of which is sitting (or slouching!). This causes changes in the way your body functions. You can start to feel stiff and locked into these negative postural changes, and when you try to sit up straight, its uncomfortable or near on impossible. Your body gets used to this poor posture and over time, this becomes your new normal (the new, programmed posture). Not surprising when the average person spends almost a quarter of their life working!

Recent research shows that when you slouch it changes how your brain ‘sees’ your body. Specifically, when your head moves forward instead of being right over the top of your neck and shoulders. This is most commonly found when you slouch forward when seated. Take a moment, try it. What happens to your head? It moves forward! So what can we do to help ourselves?

By keeping your spine moving and functioning perfectly, you will be able to maintain better posture for longer. Chiropractic directly helps by correcting subluxations (those stiffened parts of your spine) which can help maintain a healthy posture. Research shows that when your head is further forward, it changes the signals that are travelling from your body to your brain. Instead of sending an accurate picture of what is happening in your body, the signal gets distorted. This is like in a shallow pool – there is a toy at the bottom. When the pool is still, you can clearly see exactly where the toy is. Now throw a pebble into the pool – ripples are created which distorts the image you see of the toy. You cannot see it as accurately as before. This is how your brain perceives your body when posture is less than optimal.

By stretching (and chiropractic care), you will find it easier to sit and stand straight, instead of this poor posture becoming the new normal. By correcting your subluxations, your brain and body will be able to communicate clearer, and your brain will be able to accurately tell your body where it should be. In a good, correct posture!

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