Doctor Housecalls Blog

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As our lives become busier, we can become more sedentary. As more time is spent at our desk, we must become more aware of our sitting posture. Good posture while sitting is essential in order to avoid strain on the muscles and ligaments. It can help to alleviate problems like back and neck pain, headaches, and general fatigue, which are becoming more common.

Good posture…

  • Will keep your joints and bones in correct alignment, which ensures muscles are properly used.
  • Can prevent backache, muscular pain and strain injuries.
  • Helps reduce the stress on those ligaments around the spine.
  • Can slow down and decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces which can sometimes lead to arthritis.
  • Improves appearance.

While most people are aware of the correct standing posture, they don’t realise that posture while sitting is just as important!

To encourage correct sitting posture, look at your chair and desk:

  • Adjust your seat so your feet are flat on the ground.
  • Check the position of arm rests, shoulders should be in a relaxed position.
  • Pull your keyboard close to your body and centre the keys. Tilt if necessary.
  • Adjust your keyboard height. Elbows should be slightly open and shoulders relaxed. Hands and wrists should be straight. Wrist rests can be helpful.
  • Position your monitor so that your neck is in a neutral, relaxed position. The top of the monitor should be 2 – 3 inches above eye level.

Now the equipment is ready, start training your body to maintain a ‘good posture’ sitting position:

 

  • Sit up with your back straight.
  • Shoulders should be back, but relaxed.
  • Your buttocks should touch the back of your seat.
  • Body weight should be distributed evenly over both hips.
  • Feet should be flat on the ground, and keep your knees that bit higher than your hips. A foot stool may be useful to aid this.
  • Try to keep your head, the heaviest part of your body, centred and not tilted to one side.
  • Every 20 – 30 minutes take time to stretch.
  • Don’t sit in the same position for too long without taking a quick break or stretch.
  • Walk to the water cooler at least every hour. Staying hydrated helps your muscles to maintain correct posture.
  • All three normal back curves should be present when sitting correctly – a lumber support may be used to help maintain this.

After sitting correctly for an hour, set a reminder to take a break! You need to stand up without straining any muscles which have been dormant for the last 60 minutes:

  • Slide to the front of your seat
  • Push up to a standing position by extending and straightening your legs.
  • Avoid bending forward at the waist as you stand.
  • When fully erect, stretch your back, arms and legs.
  • Move around for at least 2 minutes before resuming correct sitting posture again.

Bad posture can be the result of bad habits. Try these tips when sitting at your desk every day, and soon good sitting posture will be something that will come more naturally to you!!



While hiking is a low impact sport – an activity that doesn’t over stress the joints and body – it can provide a great cardiovascular work-out when you hike at the right speed and duration. Follow these tips and you will be ready to book your hike up Camelback Mountain very soon!

  • If you have a Heart Condition, Hypertension, Asthma, joint problems, or other health issues, please consult a Doctor before you start training.
  • Know your abilities; limits are easy to find! If you are leading a very sedentary life then start off gradually. Aim for half a mile in about 15 minutes the first day, building up to 3 miles per hour over the next 2 – 3 weeks. Hike daily , with a rest day every 3 or 4 days. Make sure you are conditioned before attempting a long hike.
  • Check your posture as you walk. This will help to strengthen your bones and muscles especially if you are carrying a backpack.
  • Take care of your muscles! Warm up gradually and build up muscle strength and endurance.  If you over-do things, there is an increased chance of injury. Training should be slow and steady. Listen to your body – there is a difference between pushing yourself to the limit, and over doing it!
  • Proper hydration is essential. A good guideline is to drink 2 glasses of fluid, every 2 hours before the hike begins. During your hike, try to drink 1/2 to 1 quart every hour. Water is fine, but if your hike is over an hour long consider bringing some diluted fruit juice or sports drinks. These will give you carbohydrates for energy and help replace lost minerals. Increase your fluid intake in warm or hot conditions.
  • Take a 10 minute break every hour. Eat some trail mix, dried fruit or salty snack. Eat before you get hungry, and drink before you get thirsty!
  • Watch your oxygen intake. If you are huffing and puffing along then you are probably not getting enough oxygen. Ideally you should be able to talk as you walk along. As your heart rate gets faster, your body becomes more efficient at pumping oxygen and blood around your body. This improves with regular training.
  • Help avoid injury by wearing the right clothes and boots. Strong hiking boots with good socks prevent blisters. Fingerless gloves can protect the hands against cuts and grazes. On a long hike, bring a change of socks and clothing that can be layered. If the weather is changeable then pack rain gear. Wear a hat and sunscreen.
  • Carry a small first aid kit containing antiseptic wipes, bandages, tweezers, and moleskin.
  • Be mentally prepared. If hiking alone, make sure someone knows your route and what time you aim to be back. Could you cope if you fall, twist an ankle, or meet some wildlife? Consider hiking with a friend.

Whether you are an experienced hiker planning a week long trek, or a beginner going on your first five mile hike, to optimize the experience you need to plan ahead!


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