Posture. Most of us hate being nagged about it — sit up, shoulders back, stop slouching, tummy in, straighten up…
So why all the fuss???
Posture allows movement for life, health and sport. Posture integrates into every system, muscle and joint in the body. Good posture provides us with joint health, body control, muscle activation, decreased tension, aesthetics, confidence, stability, and mobility. On the flip side, bad posture can impact your health by creating misalignment in your musculoskeletal system, causing neck shoulder and back pain, decreasing your flexibility and affecting how your joints move.
So what is good posture?
Posture is more than just “shoulders back, head up, tummy in, etc.” Posture is dynamic, NOT A STATIC, RIGID POSITION.
Any movement we perform is just multiple snapshots of static posture joined together. In other words, we should be able to take a photograph of anybody in motion, and
comment on the quality of that person’s posture: aka. how well they are able to support and move their body.
Some people can “check all the right boxes” of ideal alignment, and still be in pain or unable to move properly. Your posture should be comfortable and relaxed so you can easily move in any direction, without holding your breath, or using 150% of all your muscle activity. When people nag you with cues (like the ones in the title), ask yourself, did that correction make me feel better or worse? Do I feel more stable and relaxed or did it create more tension and rigidity? The goal is to find your natural posture that’s right for your body.
Here are a few tips on how to improve your posture:
- pay attention to your posture while doing everyday activities like walking, sitting and laying down
- strengthen and stretch the muscles in your back, chest and core; exercises that focus on body awareness, like yoga, can be especially helpful
- adjust the ergonomics of the spaces where you spend a lot of time, like your work desk, to ensure surfaces are at a comfortable height
- switch positions often and incorporate gentle stretching into your routine when sitting or standing for long periods of time
- ensure your back, hips and thighs are supported with comfortable footwear and well-padded chairs with a backrest
If you need support in correcting your posture an Athletic Therapist can help!