How often have you heard “Stand up straight”, “Don’t slump over your desk like that”, or “Stop slouching”? Possibly quite often when you were younger.
And although we probably didn’t appreciate it at the time, having a good posture is an important part of long-term health. Making sure that we hold our body in the right way, whether we are moving or still, can help us to maintain our health and avoid injuries.
What is posture?
Posture is how we hold our body, whether that’s moving (which is dynamic), or static (when we are still) which even includes the position we sleep in, and we need both to be working for us.
Some people believe that having good posture means standing up straight, tensing our back, and pushing our chest out. However, if we do this we are likely to affect the natural curves in our spine, which are there to help the spine absorb shock from our movements.
What does proper posture look like?
One way to find out if you have good posture is to ask someone to take a photo of you from the side. When you look at the photo you want to find that your ears, shoulders, and hips form a nice straight line down the side of your body.
Can posture affect my health?
Poor posture can be detrimental to a person’s health. It can affect the skeleton over time and cause neck, shoulder, and back pain. It can affect your balance and increase the risk of having a fall. Digestion may be impacted, and it can also be harder to breathe. This happens when the spine compresses the lungs and airways. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/kyphosis/)
If you notice, for example, that a line from your ear meets your chest (rather than the top of your shoulder) then your head is too far forward – this may be the start of forward head posture (or text neck as it’s now often called). If this becomes the way you stand most frequently, you might notice tension or tightness in your neck muscles that seem to be getting worse. Every inch your head moves forward is the equivalent of gaining 10 pounds in weight due to the increased strain on the muscles of your neck and back. (ref: The Pain Relief Secret by Sarah Warren).
Can posture be improved?
Yes, it can, but as it took a long time to deteriorate it will take some time to improve. If you would like to know more about how to do this, click on the button below.