Article by John Miller
What is Good Posture?
That’s why proud and confident people stand tall with excellent posture. It’s a habit! Standing with good posture looks and feels fantastic, plus it’s very healthy for your joints, muscles, bones, blood circulation and most importantly, your self-esteem.
How you hold your body in space is your posture. Your posture is a direct result of the postural habits that you commonly exhibit. You can choose to hold good posture or poor posture. Gravity is your worst enemy while standing or sitting. You could also refer to this as your spinal posture, back or neck posture.
The good news for you is that you can quite easily change your postural habits and train your body to sit, stand, walk, and even rest in great postures. Good posture also places the least strain upon your supporting muscles and ligaments.
But, no one posture is good to maintain all day. As a human, you were designed to move from posture to posture to avoid muscle fatigue and abnormal sustained tissue loading. 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.
- It contributes to your enhanced confidence and a good appearance!
Standing comfortably with good posture should feel natural and 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. You may experience temporary joint or muscle discomfort or fatigue 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:
The number one tip to achieve a great standing posture is to “stand tall”! All the muscles that you need to push you taller are the same ones that improve your posture.
- Stand tall!
- Extend your head directly up (think balloon lifting your head with a string in the top of your skull) – 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).
- When standing for sustained periods, shift your weight from one foot to the other, or 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 wall. The rear of your head should lightly touch the wall.
How to Correct Your Posture?
If you experience discomfort in the above test and can’t easily correct your posture, you may have some joint, ligament or muscular movement restriction. All of these problems can be quickly assessed and quickly improved by your physiotherapist. Please consult them for advice.
Having difficulty maintaining a normal upright posture? You are probably suffering from reduced muscle endurance or strength. But these can both be easily improved with some practice of the right exercises. Your physiotherapist is an expert in prescribing the best postural exercises for you in a stage-appropriate manner to help you improve your posture without causing unnecessary pain or injury.
Your physiotherapist may also advise a posture brace or prescribe some posture taping to assist you in achieving and maintaining a good posture quickly.
Contact your physiotherapist for posture advice specific to you and your needs.