Article by John Miller
What is the Best Standing Posture?
Standing with your best posture not only looks and feels fantastic, but it’s also very healthy for you.
Great posture is the best thing for your muscles, joints, bones, blood circulation and most importantly, your self-esteem. That’s why proud and confident people stand tall with excellent posture. It’s a successful habit!
Good posture also places the least strain upon your supporting muscles and ligaments.
How you hold your body in space is your posture. Your everyday posture is a direct result of your everyday postural habits. You can choose to hold good posture or poor posture. The constant compressive weight of gravity is your worst enemy while standing or sitting. You could also refer to this as your spinal posture, back or neck posture.
It’s actually quite easy to improve your postural habits. But it is a habit, and researchers suggest that it takes 10000 attempts to create a habit. That’s a good or a bad habit! Why not start the new you with a proud and posture perfect body today?
What is Your Best Posture?
Humans were always designed to move and be versatile. You were designed to move from posture to posture to avoid muscle fatigue and abnormal sustained tissue loading. When we were hunters and gatherers, it was easy. But, with specialised jobs and postures, we tend to become static for too long these days, which causes postural fatigue, which leads to posture failure. This means that your best posture is your next posture!
Benefits of Good Posture
- Prevents postural muscle fatigue.
- Correctly aligns your joints and bones while encouraging efficient muscle activity.
- Help minimalise joint stress.
- Avoids passive ligament overload.
- Prevents backache, neckache and muscular pain.
- Contributes to your enhanced self-esteem!
Your ideal standing posture should be comfortable, easily attained and maintained. Your best posture should feel natural and be energy efficient. Bad postural habits can cause a few muscular aches and pains for a few days during the early transition (posture habit change) phase. During this period, you can experience some temporary joint or muscle discomfort. These discomforts are related to mild joint adaptation as your joints realign, ligaments stretch, and postural muscles start working. The good news is that if you keep maintaining a good posture, your body will quickly adapt and feel more comfortable and strong in your new normal posture.
Plus… the upside is that not only will you be less likely to suffer pain, but you’ll also look confident and feel fantastic too!
How to Improve Your Standing Posture:
If I had to tell you one “switch” tip, it is simply to “stand tall” whenever you think about it. The muscles that you use to stand taller are the same muscles that improve your posture.
- Stand tall!
- Think tall neck (ballerina or model style)- but keep your chin tucked in. Avoid tilting your head forward, backward or sideways.
- Your earlobes will line up with the middle of your shoulders.
- Keep your shoulders back, your knees straight, and your back straight.
- Let arms hang naturally down the sides of the body
- Lightly draw in your core stomach muscles. Avoid tilting your pelvis forward.
- Avoid locking the knees.
- Ensure your feet arches are in a neutral (not flat) position.
- Stand with weight over the centre of your feet.
- Stand with your feet slightly apart (shoulder-width).
- Shift your weight from one foot to the other when standing for a sustained period. Alternatively, stand in a walk-stand and rock your weight from your front to back foot.
How to Quickly Check Your Standing Posture
Stand against a wall with shoulders and bottom touching the wall. The back of your head should lightly touch the wall. If you can’t do this without pain or strain, you may have some restrictions on some spinal joints, ligaments or muscle tightness. All of these problems can be quickly assessed and quickly improved by your physiotherapist with some joint mobilisations, stretches, massage and/or strengthening exercises. Please consult your physiotherapist for specific advice regarding your posture.
Having difficulty maintaining your normal upright posture? You are probably suffering from reduced muscle endurance or strength. You can improve postural muscle fatigue quite easily with repetitive contraction and periodic posture breaks. This will help to strengthen and improve your postural muscle endurance.
Your physiotherapist is a professional in prescribing the best postural exercises for you in a stage-appropriate manner. They may consider temporarily prescribing you a posture brace or prescribe some posture taping to assist you in transitioning, achieving and maintaining the best posture for you.