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Foster good posture

Statistics show that teenagers spend up to nine hours a day consuming media. This means about one third of the day is spent using some type of electronic device, with hunched backs and bent necks.

College students spend much of their time sitting, whether it is to eat, study, socialize, or attend class. With so much time spent in a chair, it is easy to fall into a habit of bad posture.

Good posture is described as a balanced upright position, with a straight line from the ear to the shoulder to the hip. Anything other than that is simply considered bad posture. Slouching, rounding of the shoulders, tilting the head forward and arching of the low back is considered bad posture and without correction it can become a permanent habit.

Bad posture is a gateway to many painful symptoms, like body aches and back pain, and has long term effects, negatively influencing people as they age. 

When considering the long-term effects, people who do not have good posture or correct spinal alignment are prone to degenerative disc disease, a condition in which the discs between the vertebrae lose their cushioning. This causes back pain and reduces capability for physical activity. As people age, spines begin to show signs of wear and tear and the discs in between the spine begin to dry out and shrink. This wear and tear can lead to arthritis, disc herniation or spinal stenosis.

“Taking care of posture now will help you in the long term,” said Myles Wilcox, the assistant Athletic Trainer for the ORU Baseball team. “It decreases muscle tension and helps lessen neck spasms and lessens headaches potentially.”

Maintaining good posture is not easy, because it requires conscious effort. Consciously working to have good posture seems weird and uncomfortable at first.

“Look at every single person on campus. Their shoulders are hunched forward, their heads are down and that creates constant tension on our necks and our backs,” Wilcox said.

So how does one get maintain good posture?

“Roll your shoulders back and bring your chin up. Pull your chest forward and see the world,” Wilcox advised. Also, getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium is important in maintaining good bone health.

“Having good nutrition intake is very important to the spine,” said Christie Huffman, the Campus Dietitian. “Spines have fluids so proper hydration is also very important. Getting enough water and keeping that balance is important for spine health. From a nutritional standpoint, you need to be aware of getting all the dietary sources your body needs to keep your bones healthy. For posture, if you don’t have good bone health, it really becomes impossible later in life to have good posture.”