What is good posture?
According to Physio-pedia, “posture is defined as the attitude assumed by the body either with support during the course of muscular activity, or as a result of the coordinated action performed by a group of muscles working to maintain the stability.” From this definition, good posture should mean training your body to move to – and from – standing, walking, sitting, and lying positions with the least strain in your muscles and ligaments.
If you’re already starting to feel lower back pain, chances are, you need to improve your posture. Bad posture can happen no matter what age, gender, or color you have. However, you can prevent further injuries and other underlying health problems when you check your posture now. It’s better to correct your posture in the early stages of your life than suffer more serious and potentially risky orthopedic concerns later on.
In this article, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute talks about the importance of good posture and some tips on how you can achieve that.
Importance of good posture
The way you hold your body, whether moving or inactively still, determines whether you have good posture or not. It involves balance, coordination, and body strength in order to hold yourself going to and from movement and resting position. These distinctions are commonly called dynamic (moving) and static (not moving) posture.
Good posture is about maintaining the natural curves of your spine. Your neck, mid-back, and low back should be aligned, otherwise, your joints could experience wear and tear over time.
But why does it matter that you have good posture, really? Here are a few reasons why it’s important:
- Center your weight. Distribute the force of gravity to your body and not just to certain muscle groups.
- Correct form in working out. Maintain correct form during exercise that could result in better performance and lesser injuries.
- Good balance. Train your body to have good balance useful for simple tasks like picking things up from the floor or climbing up a flight of stairs, for example.
- Strengthen muscles. Ensure your core muscles remain strong as they are interlinked with other body systems to function well.
- Flexibility. Increase your range of motion so you can freely move and not feel pain when you move in any direction.
How to have good posture when sitting
The key thing when sitting down is to keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows close to your sides. Also, your elbows, hips, and knees should be at a 90-degree angle, approximately. Moreover, your feet should be comfortably resting on a surface. Others even use cushions or foot rests, if it helps, so you can shift your weight easily.
Make it a habit to switch your position every couple of minutes. Don’t get stiff or stay still for too long. Stand up, take a walk, and take your short breaks so you don’t stay glued on your seat.
Sometimes, you might catch yourself crossing your legs but try to avoid this as much as you possibly can. Your feet should be on the floor and your ankles in front of your knees. Your back should be fully supported. You can use a pillow or other back support to follow your lower back’s natural curve.
Are your shoulders and hips aligned with your ears?
Do you have your feet flat on the floor?
Are your forearms parallel to the floor?
If your answer is no, it’s time to correct your body. Otherwise, you’ll likely feel pain in your lower back, neck or shoulders eventually, if you haven’t yet.
How to have good posture when standing up
Good posture happens when you train your body to walk, sit, lie, and stand in a healthy, proper position. This is when you least strain your spine and maximize your muscles to support your ligaments during various activities.
There are four common postural tendencies that each person may have. These are normal, kyrphotic-lordotic, sway back, and flat back.
Your goal is to keep the normal standing position to avoid lower back pains and other related complications that may be bad for your posture.
Stand up tall and straight. Your weight should be on the balls of your feet and your arms naturally hanging down at your sides. Also, your feet should be about shoulder-width apart. Always stand straight and still, and let your shoulders relax.
Is your stomach pulled in?
Are your shoulders back?
If your answers are yes, you’re off to a good start. Be mindful of that posture so you get used to keeping your spine aligned at all times.
Benefits of good posture
What used to be annoying reminders from your parents when you were younger can actually result in good habits as you grow older. Remember being told to avoid slouching? It’s not too late to change that habit, especially when you’re in front of a computer or the television for too long.
Sometimes, your job may require you to sit down or stand up for longer periods than normal. Or you’ve just unconsciously been sitting or standing a certain way. Knowing the benefits of good posture may help you be more mindful about what seems to be something you do naturally.
Here are a list of benefits you’ll be missing out on if you aren’t careful with your posture:
- Reduce back strain
- Proper alignment of your joints and bones
- Lesser headaches
- Increase energy level
- Enhance digestion and blood circulation
- Reduce shoulder tension and neck strain
- Strengthen your lungs
- Improve scapular strength
- Look taller
- Increase self-confidence and body awareness
- Boost productivity and mood
Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute believes in the quality of life with length of life. If you are already experiencing lower back pain, try these lower back exercises. They may help avoid further injuries as you correct your posture.
Next time you hear your mom say “stand up straight” or your friend noticing you to “sit up straight,” it might be worth listening to. Take the advice to heart and correct your posture right away as it is really for your benefit.