Article by John Miller
What is Good Posture?
Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or laying down. Good posture involves training the body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments.
Good Posture makes you look great, feel more energetic and project confidence. It also helps prevent injury and reduce pain.
We all want good posture... but it can be so hard to achieve if you have poor posture. That's because acquiring good posture involves not only learning new movements and positions, but changing life-long habits as well.
How to Improve Posture
Just knowing how to correct your posture is not enough to achieve a change in your actual habit. Our body uses learnt motor patterns to perform everyday activities. When we sit, stand, walk or move - our body follows previously learnt motor patterns. If your body has learned to slouch - that's what it will do.
The first step to discovering how to correct your posture is to have your posture type assessed. Your physiotherapist is an expert at posture assessment.
To achieve good posture you need to have:
Normal Joint Range of Motion. If you have stiff spinal joints they will need to be loosened to allow you achieve good posture alignment.
Normal Muscle Length. If your muscles are too tight you won't be able to attain a normal posture. Your muscles will need to be stretched and relaxed.
Good Muscle Strength. Your muscle needs to be able to pull you into the correct posture.
Excellent Muscle Endurance. Your muscles need to able to work for hours on end. Poor endurance is a major factor in habitual poor posture.
Normal Nerve Extensibilty. Yes. Your neural tissue needs enough length to allow for normal posture.
Good Spatial Awareness. You need to know where you are in space. If you are not sure "how you should feel" with good posture, what hope have you got for achieving it? This is where your physiotherapist can provide you with verbal and visual feedback. Plus they can asset you at home with postural taping or a postural brace.
Perfect Posture Habits. The hardest part is the initial change. After that, you are merely reinforcing the correct habit which will become your normal perfect posture.
Who Can Help You Achieve Good Posture?
Your physiotherapist is the ideal health professional to identify your posture style and provide you with hands-on treatment, posture correction exercises and helpful home products for you to achieve great posture again! And… you're never too old to start. It just gets harder to change your old ways.
If you need posture correction advice, please contact your physiotherapist.
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