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Although good posture certainly contributes to a look of confidence and strength, did you know it also contributes to our health and well-being?

Posture & Health: To help you better understand the importance of good posture, let’s start by discussing the spine—which consists of the bones (vertebrae) and discs that support the body and protect the spinal cord. There are three curves in the spine: the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), and lumbar (low back). If one of these curves moves out of alignment, poor posture begins to set in. When the vertebrae become improperly aligned, it leads to stress and strain on your joints and ligaments. In addition, the muscles attached to the bones may also be affected because they are unable to work as efficiently and therefore tire out much faster. This in turn causes increased muscle weakness. It’s like a domino effect: all of the above factors can lead to pain and degenerative problems. Poor posture is irritating to the spinal nerves, and can restrict or alter the motion of the rib cage, affecting breathing and causing excess stress and pressure on organs and tissues in the chest. Good posture helps the nervous system function normally.

Do you sit at a computer most of the day? There are many different possible causes for bad posture, but the most likely culprit is poor sitting, standing and moving practices. Computer use is a major contributor of injuries related to posture. The next time you are seated at your desk, think about how your body is positioned while you are working. Typically the first thing that happens when you’re using a computer is that your head begins to move forward. It is estimated that for every inch the head moves forward, an additional 15-30 lbs of tension is placed on the muscles of the neck. Once your head moves forward, your posture is automatically thrown off and your body begins to compensate for the shift. In compensating, your neck moves forward, your shoulders become rounded and a sway in the back develops. The end result can be pain, muscle aches, tension and even headaches.

Another suggestion for discomfort associated with computer use is to try gently lifting your chest. Your head and shoulders will come back into their proper position without straining the muscles in the neck and back. This trick can also be used when you're standing.

Tips for Office Comfort
• Be sure to angle your work whenever possible so you're not looking down.
• Keep your computer screen 15 degrees below eye level.
• Try not to cross your legs while sitting.
• Use a rolled up towel and place it in the curve of your low back whenever you are seated for an extended period of time.
• Try to keep your desk or table at elbow height.
• Use a footrest to help take pressure off the back of the legs.
• Keep your knees a little higher than your hips.
• Don’t forget to get up every once in a while and stretch.
• Try to take a one to two minute break every 20 minutes or so whenever you find yourself sitting for extended periods of time.

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Weight, weight, weight! So many people get so obsessed with weight, but the problem is that a scale doesn’t give you the entire picture. You can have quite a bit of fat on your body and weigh less than an athlete who has more muscle – the reason – because fat weighs less than muscle. With that said it’s good to have some form of measurement to help you stay focused with your weight loss efforts. Let’s take a closer look at safe weight loss tips...

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