Maintaining good posture is important for your health. Over time, bad habits can cause people to develop poor posture, and this can be seen in many adults. Few people understand the true importance of having good posture. If you correct your posture and continue to maintain it properly, you can enjoy improved health outcomes.
What is your posture?
Your posture is the position in which your body is held while you sit, stand, or lie down. When you have good posture, the various parts of your body are correctly aligned and supported by the correct amount of muscular tension against the pull of gravity. If you did not have muscle control and posture, you would fall.
Most people do not pay attention to how they maintain their normal posture. Instead, your muscles maintain your posture for you. Your postural muscles, including your large back muscles and hamstrings, are critical for helping you to maintain good posture and to keep the pull of gravity from pushing you forward. These critical muscle groups also help you to keep your balance when you move.
The importance of good posture
Good posture helps you to walk, sit, lie down, and stand in positions that place the least amount of strain on your ligaments and muscles. Good posture helps to keep your joints and bones in proper alignment so that you use your muscles correctly. This helps to reduce the wear and tear of your joint surfaces. When your joints suffer abnormal wear, it can lead to joint pain and arthritis.
Good posture also helps to minimize the stress on the ligaments that hold the joints of the vertebral column together, which reduces the likelihood of back injuries. It also allows your muscles to work with greater efficiency so that muscle fatigue can be prevented. Finally, good posture helps to prevent muscle strains, muscular pain, back pain, and overuse disorders.
Maintaining proper posture requires you to have good strength and flexibility, balanced postural muscles, and proper joint motions. You must also identify your habits and work to fix them if they are leading to poor posture.
Proper posture while you are sitting down
When you are seated, there are several things that you should do to use good posture. Your feet should remain on the floor or a footrest. You should avoid crossing your legs and keep your ankles slightly in front of your knees. You should maintain a small space between the front of your seat and the back of your knees, and your knees should either be at the same level or slightly below the level of your hips. Make sure that your shoulders are relaxed and your forearms are parallel to the floor. Finally, avoid sitting in the same position for lengthy periods.
Proper posture while standing
When you are standing, you should pay attention to several things to build good posture. You should primarily bear your weight on the balls of your feet. Do not lock your knees and keep them in a slightly bent position. Stand with your feet apart balanced by the width of your shoulders. Your arms should hang naturally along the sides of your body. Suck in your stomach and stand straight with your shoulders back. You should keep your head in a position in which your ears are in line with your shoulders. If you have to remain standing for a long time, shift your weight to your heels or between your feet.
Proper posture when you lie down
Maintaining good posture during sleep begins with finding the right mattress. Choose a mattress that has the degree of firmness that is most comfortable for you. Use a pillow for sleep, and do not sleep on your stomach. If you sleep on your side, you should put a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, you should place a pillow beneath your knees.
What are the consequences of having poor posture?
Poor posture can cause too much strain on your postural muscles when they are kept in the same position for long periods. For example, people who tend to bend forward from the waist for long periods are more prone to suffer muscle injuries and back pain.
Multiple factors can contribute to the development of poor posture, including the following:
- High-heeled shoes
- Overly tight muscles
- Weak postural muscles
- Unhealthy standing and sitting habits
- Decreased flexibility
- Work environment
Correcting your posture
If you have poor posture, it is possible to correct it. However, postural problems that have existed for a long time will take more time to correct. Understanding your posture and identifying what needs to be addressed can help you to make conscious corrections. Over time, your poor postural habits can be replaced with good posture with continuing practice.
Dr. Rick Haines at Absolute Health Chiropractic in Gainesville, Florida can help you to improve your posture. He can provide recommendations for exercises that can help you to strengthen your core muscles and help you to learn the correct posture for your activities so that your risk of injury will be reduced. Contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling us at 352-377-7373.