(Jan. 6, 2021) — Among the many factors that contribute to driving safety, posture is the most underrated one. Here’s why it’s important for your overall safety and health.
Pain can happen when you’re working. Manual labor is often the cause of musculoskeletal problems like stiff neck, back pain and strains, but there are other reasons for your aches and pains. One of them is poor posture, especially when sitting.
The health risks of poor posture include:
- Digestive Issues – According to gastroenterologist Kyle Staller, having a slouched posture after a meal can trigger acid reflux. It puts too much pressure on your abdomen, pushing stomach acid to go in the wrong direction.
- Incontinence – This happens when you leak a small amount of urine when you cough or laugh. Poor posture contributes to this. When you slouch, you put pressure on your bladder.
- Circulation issues – Sitting on a chair for hours on end in an awkward position can prevent your body from getting proper blood circulation. Veins, arteries, and even nerves become compressed, leading to problems like varicose veins.
- Fatigue – Poor posture also has an effect on your energy levels throughout the day. It tenses up and compresses your muscles. The tension builds up over time and eventually wears out your muscles and bones. As a result, you need to exert more energy to move. It all adds up, making you feel more tired at the end of every day.
Poor posture plagues you from the office down to your own car. The average American drives about 11,498 miles annually. And even if you only spend a few hours in front of the wheel, your poor posture can still contribute to health issues in the long run. If you feel tired at work, you’ll feel even more exhausted while stuck in traffic. Before you know it, you’ll be calling a motorcycle injury lawyer because you got into a motorbike accident that your fatigue may have caused.
Your posture affects your health, and ultimately, your driving ability.
Here’s how to improve it before you hit the road.
Get Your Seat Height Right
Everyone is built differently. As such, your car’s default seat height may not suit you. Even if it’s just a little too low or a bit too high, you may find yourself getting into weird positions just to get your feet to push the different pedals. You’ll end up hunched over if your seat is too high and get poor leg circulation if your seat is too low. You could also strain your neck trying to look at your dashboard and the road ahead properly.
Adjust your seat up or down so that your hips line up perfectly with your knees. If you can’t see the road properly, don’t be afraid to raise it up even more. Some car seats may not offer height adjustment. So, if it’s too low, you can always use a cushion or pillow to raise your seat.
Adjust for Back Support
Most car seats come with adjustable backs. They’re often operated with a simple lever. Your seat back should be at an angle of around 100 to 110 degrees. This lets you sit comfortably without having to slouch forward to reach the steering wheel. You should also get a cushion designed to support your lower back. These are specially designed to have curves that brace your spine.
A neck pillow is also a great way to stay comfortable during long drives. You can easily find them on Amazon or your local auto shop. Having these cushions may seem like a small improvement, but you’ll feel the difference once you’ve spent hours on the road.
Practice Proper Posture
Proper posture doesn’t just involve your spine; it involves every limb of your body.
Here are different ways to adjust your body for comfort and optimal driving performance.
- Neck – Your neck should be resting on your headrest or a specialized cushion so that it stays upright. If your seat is adjusted correctly, you shouldn’t feel the urge to curve your neck to focus on the road.
- Arms – Your arms should be able to reach the steering wheel comfortably without having to bend your elbows as much. Adjust your seat position so that your arms come at a slight curve when you grab onto the steering wheel.
- Legs – Your legs should be able to extend easily to step on the gas and brake. If you’re going to rest them in the car, have them at a slight bend, with your feet flat on the cabin floor.
There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to driving safety. One that’s often overlooked is posture. Having poor posture can make you tired and throw you off your focus. With the right seat height, ample back support, and right body posture practices, you can focus on the road instead of your sore back.