The definition of posture is the position of a person’s body while standing or sitting.
Unfortunately in the sedentary digital world we now live in, poor posture has become common place. Even while you sit at your computer reading this article you may notice your shoulders hunched over and you are leaning into your desk. Take a breath and notice how it may feel constricted. Now sit back and pull your shoulders back, just like mom always told you to do, and take another deep breath. Notice how you can inhale more deeply and for a longer time. Good posture has many benefits; more efficient breathing is just one of those benefits. In the following article we will explore the benefits of good posture as well as how to practice and attain better posture.
Practising good posture not only lets you breathe more efficiently but also acts as an injury prevention exercise. With good posture the body is better aligned. If the muscles of the body are no longer being stretched or hindered because of poor body position, you will be less likely to sustain an injury. Better alignment can also increase joint and muscle range of motion allowing the body to move more efficiently. Just like good posture helps you to breathe better, good posture also lets you walk, run or do other activities more safely and efficiently.
Maintaining correct alignment of the bones and joints of our body will decrease abnormal wear and tear of joint surfaces. Over time poor posture may lead to worn down joints causing chronic paint and immobility of the joint (aka arthritis). Poor posture also puts unwanted stresses on the spine leading to damaged or slipped discs; therefore, common back pain is often associated with poor posture.
Good posture not only benefits you physically but can also have a positive effect on your image and mental wellness. People who display good posture often are considered to be smarter or more attractive when compared to those with poor posture. Someone with good posture naturally exudes confidence. This effect not only makes others take notice of you but you yourself will feel better.
Try sitting with bad posture for 30 seconds, slumped over and maybe leaning to one side…
Now switch to good posture for 30 seconds, upright spine with shoulders pulled back and down.
Did you notice any differences in how you felt?
So what is good posture and how do I attain it?
Good posture does not mean a straight back, our spine is naturally curved. So it is important to remember that when practising good posture it is ok to have curvature, especially in the lower spine (lumbar curve).
Posture starts with a solid foundation, activating the
muscles of the abdomen (core) will allow you to hold your posture and therefore your spine in proper alignment
Looking to improve your posture? A simple way is by practicing the COAT HOOK METHOD.
Think about how you hang a coat on a hook:
- You start by bringing the coat above the hook, then close to the wall, and finally down over the hook to make sure it is in place.
For posture, the same idea is applied to the shoulder complex and rest of the body:
- Start by standing against a wall with the heels a few inches away from the wall.
- Your hips, shoulders and head should rest easily against the wall.
Next, engage the core muscles to help stabilize the body:
- Tilt the pelvis back by pressing the low back gently towards the wall
Then, envisioning your shoulders as the coat:
- Pull the shoulders UP
- Push the shoulders BACK, towards the wall
- Press the shoulders DOWN
Finally, hold for 30 seconds:
- Breathe as normally as you can while holding this position with your core activated
You can practice this exercise any time of the day, for example, when walking or standing for extended periods of time. It is especially important to practice good posture when sitting at a desk or computer for a long time. Your shoulders just pulled back and down didn’t they? Taking the time to practice good posture can be the difference between a sore back and an efficient, pain free work day.
Bonus Tip: Try not to sit for more than 2 hours at a time. Get up and walk around for a few minutes every 2 hours. This in conjunction with exercises to improve posture will re-energize the body, get blood flowing, and let the muscles used for sitting relax and refresh.
Keywords: benefits of good posture, how to improve your posture, exercises to improve posture