Posture is the way in which we position our body while sitting, standing, and lying down. Good posture correctly aligns the body to ideally bring the muscles and skeletal structure in line against gravity. Typically, proper posture is maintained on a subconscious level.
What is the importance of good posture?
Good posture allows us to sit, stand, walk, and lie down in positions that place the least amount of strain on the supporting muscles, joints, and skeletal structure as possible. Good posture:
- Reduces stress on the ligaments that hold joints together, minimizing the chance of injuries.
- Helps to keep the joints and bones in proper alignment, allowing them to work correctly. This reduces the amount of wearing on joint surfaces that could cause issues such as pain and degenerative arthritis.
- Helps prevent overuse problems, muscular strains, and back, joint and muscular pain.
- Allows the muscles to work as efficiently as possible, thereby causing minimal exertion during activities and maximizing endurance.
To keep good posture, adequate muscle strength and flexibility are necessary, as well as normal range of motion in the joints and spine. When these things are no longer functioning properly, maintaining good posture can be something that our subconscious alone can no longer provide and a conscious effort must be made to correct the problems.
What problems can poor posture cause?
Poor posture can lead to excess strain on various muscles that contribute to posture. This strain can eventually progress to injuries, back pain, and various long term health issues.
Many factors may contribute towards bad posture, including:
- Tight muscles
- High-heel shoes
- Reduced flexibility
- Improper work or regular activity posture
- Poor standing or sitting habits
So how do I sit properly?
- When seated, there should be a small gap between the front of the seat and the back of your knees.
- Your feet should be kept on the floor or on some other support if they can’t reach the floor.
- Knees should be kept either level with or below the hips.
- Legs should remain uncrossed. Ankles should remain in front of the knees.
- The back rest of the chair should support both the lower and mid-back areas. Use a back support if necessary.
- Do not sit in the same position for long periods of time, without getting up and moving around.
- Shoulders should be relaxed and forearms kept parallel with the ground.
What is proper posture for standing?
- Keep the majority of your weight on the balls of the feet.
- Keep the feet around shoulder-width apart from each other.
- Do not lock your knees. Keep them very slightly bent.
- Keep your stomach tucked in. Do not allow the muscles of the stomach to relax.
- Keep the torso upright with your shoulders pulled back slightly.
- If you need to stand for a long period of time, shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or alternate from one foot to the other from time to time.