Why it is important, and how to achieve it
Stand up straight! Don’t slouch! How many times did you hear that from your mum, or from teachers when you were young? At the time it seemed like nagging, but it turns our Mum was right. Now there’s a surprise! Good posture may seem like a small thing, but in fact poor posture can negatively affect your entire body, and contribute to the ageing process. So, what is good posture and how can you improve yours?
Essentially, good posture means that your body is in correct alignment. This means your:
- chin is parallel with the floor
- shoulders are horizontally even
- abdominal muscles are braced
- hips are horizontally even
- knees pointing forward
- weight evenly distributed between your feet
- ears, shoulders, hips and ankles fall in a vertical line
This is also true if you are sitting down, although in addition you should maintain a 90 degree angle in your hips and knees.
Benefits of Good Posture
Good posture can have a positive affect on many aspects of your life:
– improved breathing – your chest cavitity is expanded when your posture is good
– improved digestion – when your abdomen it aligned correctly, your digestion is more efficient
– nervous system – good posture allows your nervous system to function properly
– wear and tear on your joints is reduced by proper alignment, reducing the risk of degenerative arthritis
– reduction of back pain
– reduction of stress on your ligaments, tendons and muscles- you look younger, and slimmer! Yes, that’s right, slouching makes you look older and adds kilos. And who doesn’t want to look younger and slimmer?
Causes of Poor Posture
It not always about being lazy. There can be a number of causes for poor posture:
- Structural – sometimes structural problems with the spine, such as scoliosis, can impact your posture. The effects can range from mild to severe and may require medical intervention.
- Inflexible muscles can decrease your range of motion
- Tight or shortened muscles can pull your body out of alignment
- Muscle weakness – muscles interact with each other, and a weakness in one or more can affect the rest
- Pregnancy – not only does your center of balance change, but the body releases hormones that loosen ligaments in preparation for birth, sometimes causing weakness and instability
- Obesity – can change the natural center of balance, and pull the body out of alignment
- High heels – these throw the body forward, causing a need to compensate in the muscles, ligaments and tendons
There are a number of ways you can improve your posture:
- Core strengthening exercises – yoga poses like cobra and lotus help with core strength, as do crunches, bridges and planks
- Balance specific workouts – warrior pose in yoga, lunges, balancing on bosu balls, star excursion and pistol squats
- Check you posture and balance before you start and during your workout. Those gym mirrors are not just there for you to check your hair! Make sure you keep an eye on your form as you exercise
By following these few guidelines, you can improve your posture in just a few weeks. If you would like some advice on exercises specific to your needs, or you are concerned you may have structural issues, call our Baulkham Hills clinic today on 9639 7337 and make an appointment to see our Chiropractor, who can help you get on the road to being Posture Perfect!