Healthcare providers appear to be constantly discussing posture. While to most, the takeaway message is to “stand up straighter,” the reality regarding good posture and why you should strive for it is a little more complex.
You can improve your posture by relearning how to use your body more efficiently. It is never too late to improve your posture. Our physiotherapists can give you specific advice on how to improve your posture throughout the day.
The importance of good posture
One of the reasons posture is so important is that almost every joint in the body has an ideal alignment that provides the most stability and efficiency for movement in that position.
This is especially true for the spine, which contains numerous joints that work together to provide movement, stability, and support to the body. The spine must also serve as a stable foundation for the shoulder, neck and head. When the spine is optimal, the nerves that supply the trunk, arms, and legs can move freely.
While the human body is highly adaptable and will continue to function when a posture is not “ideal,” a lot of energy is wasted, and undue stress is placed on the body’s muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This can lead to pain, tightness, and a loss of flexibility over time.
While it is critical to find these optimum positions, it is also important to keep moving and avoid becoming stuck in one position for too long. No matter how “ideal” a posture is, it can be problematic when joints are held in the same place for an extended period.
Working with a good base posture, regular movement, and stretches can surprisingly impact your overall wellbeing.
The benefits of good posture
1. Enhanced energy levels
When your bones and joints are in proper alignment, your muscles can be used as intended, resulting in less fatigue and more energy.
2. Fewer headaches
Tension headaches can be exacerbated by poor posture due to increased muscle tension in the back of the neck. We can often reduce muscle tension and headaches by correcting our posture.
3. Reduced lower back pain
Long periods of sitting or standing in a slouched position strain your lower back. It strains the spine’s posterior structures, specifically the intervertebral discs, facet joints, ligaments and muscles.
4. Reduced shoulder and neck tension
Forward head posture strains the upper back, shoulders and neck. When adequately aligned, the joints and ligaments are less stressed and less prone to chronic overuse.
5. Enhanced lung capacity
Breathing becomes easier when you have good posture. When you sit up straight, your diaphragm has more room to accommodate deeper breathing.
6. Reduced risk of abnormal wear on joint surfaces
Hip strain is caused by crooked sitting and standing, such as resting on one leg or side of your body. There aren’t many issues if your posture is even. However, you’ll experience more pain and problems if you’re uneven.
7. Increased self-esteem
Not only can good posture increase your energy levels and reduce pain, but it can also boost your self-esteem.
8. Circulation and digestion are improved
When you compress vital organs, your circulation suffers, and those organs don’t work as well. Healthy blood flow necessitates proper alignment; avoid constricting circulation, such as crossing your legs.
9. Increased scapular and core strength
Your core and upper back muscles will remain active and engaged if you maintain good posture.
10. TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain is reduced
Our mandibular joint and jaw muscles are stressed and tense when we have a forwards head position. This can cause pain when eating, talking, yawning, headaches, and clicking upon opening.
11. Improve your workout form
Keeping your core engaged and your spine neutral during exercise will help you avoid injury.
12. Make yourself appear taller
Good posture makes us appear taller and slimmer, making our abs appear more defined.
Top tips for maintaining good posture
- Avoid sitting in squishy, soft chairs.
- When lifting heavy weights, keep your back straight, contract your abdominals and use your thigh muscles.
- Use a neck pillow to support your neck.
- When lying on your side, ensure your mattress is supportive enough to keep your spine straight.
- In the office or for any activity that requires you to sit for long periods, use ergonomic chairs.
- When sitting in regular chairs or driving a car, use lumbar rolls to support your lower back.
Final thoughts maintaining good posture
Your posture can improve your respiratory and digestive functions, reduce muscle tension and pain, and make you feel better physically.
Furthermore, posture can alter brain chemistry, influencing moods, emotions, and behaviour.
At Enhance Physio, we can help you become aware of and correct any postural deviations you may have. Our physiotherapists can help you improve your posture throughout the day by increasing your strength, stability, and awareness.
Book an appointment at Enhance Physio for an expert clinical diagnosis if you’d like to improve your posture and change your life!