Why is posture so important?
You know when your mother and your teachers drove you crazy by always telling you to sit up straight? Well, sorry to be the one to tell you, but they were right. Having good posture has a whole host of benefits, and there are plenty of issues that can occur if your posture goes wrong! So here is the lowdown on why it matters, and what you can do to take care of it.
What is good posture?
First things first, what do we mean by good posture? Essentially, it’s when your spine is in alignment and all of the muscles surrounding the spine are supporting the body equally.
Whether you’re standing or sitting, you should find that your back is straight, your shoulders are back and relaxed, and your ears line up with your collarbone while your chin is parallel to the floor. Your hips should be even, your knees pointing forward, and your weight evenly distributed on both feet (if you’re sitting down, they should be flat on the floor). OK, so it’s not easy to check all of that by yourself… so that’s where we come in ?
Why does my posture matter?
There are several benefits to good posture, and these are just a few.
Reduced back and neck pain
When you have good posture, your body is supporting your weight without strain. When you slouch for long periods of time, however, you put pressure on your muscles, ligaments and spine, which leads to back pain. You also put strain on your shoulders and neck, which causes discomfort in these areas.
Undue pressure on the muscles of the neck can lead to tension headaches – something you’re likely to suffer from regularly if you slouch frequently.
If your body is in alignment, your systems function more efficiently. Poor posture increases the risk of experiencing acid reflux and constipation.
If your bones and joints are out of alignment, your muscles are having to work harder to compensate. That is tiring and can lead to fatigue. If your body is properly aligned, your muscles can do simply what they’re meant to do, which means you’ll have energy left over.
Improved muscle and joint function
Poor posture increases wear and tear of the joints and degeneration of the muscles, which can lead to conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Increased blood flow
Slouching compresses your organs and reduces your circulation, meaning those organs can’t function at their best and you’re more likely to experience issues like cramp. Keeping your body in alignment allows the blood to flow to all your nerves and tissues, keeping them healthy.
Greater core strength
It takes muscular effort to maintain good posture, keeping your core and back muscles active.
Good posture helps you to maintain correct form while exercising and improves your balance, all of which helps to reduce your risk of injury.
Research shows that, because you tend to adopt a straight spine automatically when you’re feeling happy and confident (we all walk that bit taller and sit up straighter when we’re in a good mood), the simple act of sitting or standing up straight can trick our brains into believing we feel that way even when we don’t. So, if you want a quick confidence boost, just stand up straight and lift your chin – you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes!
How can you improve your posture?
A certain amount of good posture is habit. Remembering to check in on your posture regularly and correcting it when you find you’ve started to slouch, gets your body used to sitting or standing in that position. Over time, muscle memory will keep that beautifully aligned spine up for longer and longer.
There are also a number of exercises and stretches you can do to train the appropriate muscles and address any issues that might have developed over time if your posture has been less than perfect up until now.
If you’ve developed muscle problems or injuries, this could also be affecting your posture. Inflexible or overly tight muscles decrease your range of motion, and so disrupt your posture. On the other hand, if your core muscles are weak, this will encourage your upper body to slump forward, and weak leg muscles will prevent you from standing in a steady position. A chiropractor can help you address these issues.
We can also help look at lifestyle factors that could be exacerbating the situation, such as an inappropriate workstation set-up, inadequate chair, or poor footwear.
If you’re worried that your posture might be slipping, or you’re already suffering with aches and pains because of it, give us a call on (02) 9523 9940 or email email@example.com and we’ll help set you straight.