Sep 5th, 2014
Author: Christian Fruergaard
The term posture is used to describe how your body is positioned when you’re sitting, standing and lying down. Proper posture is extremely important for a number of reasons, including that it places your body in an alignment where the stress on supporting ligaments, tendons discs and muscles is limited. Poor posture can lead to discomfort and injury.
Significance of Good Posture:
Good posture places you in an alignment where stress is properly distributed to the intended muscles and ligaments. As a result, the muscles are allowed to work efficiently and as intended, which in turn decreases wear and tear that your joints undergo. This decreases your risk of joint discomfort and degenerative arthritis. Stress placed on the ligaments holding the joints in your spine together is also decreased with good posture. When your muscles, joints and ligaments are working as intended, your vital organs are able to remain in proper position and the nervous system is able to function normally.
Risks and Causes of Poor Posture:
Improper posture means you’re in a position where your muscles and ligaments are unable to work as they’re intended; there’s an abnormal amount of stress placed on particular muscles. Poor posture can be due to weak core muscles, which prevent you from holding your torso and hips in proper alignment. It can also be caused by tight muscles, a common issue for those who sit long hours throughout the day. Sustained positions over a prolonged period can (will) lead to poor posture. Also obesity, pregnancy and wearing high-heeled shoes can lead to improper posture. Long-term poor posture effects include problems with bodily systems such as digestion and breathing.
Proper Sitting Posture:
To sit with proper posture, place your feet firmly on the floor with your knees relaxed. Its easier to achieve a good posture if the back of your seat is elevated slightly. Meaning that your hips are “opened” to about 100/110 degrees – all depending on flexibility. Sit tall maintaining your natural curve in your lower back (neutral spine). Gently Roll your shoulders back and then down so that the shoulder blades move down your back. Your ears should be directly in-line with your shoulders which are in-line with your hips. BUT make sure you change position regularly. If at work you should ideally have a table what can be raised and lowered.
Correct Standing Posture:
When standing, your ears, shoulders, hips and ankles should all be in a vertical line. Set your feet to hip-width apart with toes pointed forward. Your knees should be straight but relaxed and not locked. The spine should be erect with the shoulders pulled back and then down. Often raising your chin up will help fix standing postural issues.
What to do??
Have a look in the mirror, from the front and the side. Try and make yourself as tall as you can, without straining yourself. Feel the difference in the body. Posture is very much about awareness. The more conscious of your posture you are the better it will become.
However it will take time and very often specific exercises are required – like Pilates. Pilates will strengthening all the postural muscles and help you to regain joint mobility in a very gentle and controlled way.
“You will feel better in 10 Sessions, Look better in 20 sessions and have a completely new body in 30 sessions” Joseph Pilates