By Giles Gamble
We’ve been reminded of it since we were young. But why is it so important and at times so difficult to maintain?
The definition of posture is; the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting.
Two common descriptions of posture are “good” or “poor”
One of the main reasons we want “good” posture is balance. By standing up straight, we center our weight over our feet, thus being more efficient in our muscular use and becoming more stable.
Such activities as golf, tennis, skiing or dancing, to name a few, require good balance. Of course having good balance allows one to excel in those activities and only adds to their enjoyment.
Proper posture and good balance whilst exercising lends to fewer injuries and better results. Even walking requires good balance. To take a single step is such a well orchestrated series of muscle movements and weight distribution, to add poor posture only increases the complexity and can lead to the potential for mishaps.
When we assist people into a correct standing posture, many of them have the feeling of leaning backwards and some cannot maintain it for fear of falling. The normal postural stance for these individuals is to put the weight of their body onto the balls of the feet. This is a very unstable position to be in, as the center of gravity is too far forward and the slightest nudge from behind will end in a fall. These people also have trouble walking on uneven terrain and in turn find themselves looking down at the ground when walking, only to compound the effect.
I’ve borrowed, from the Australian company Physio Works, the list below that I felt gave a good reason for proper posture.
Over the next few months I’ll be elaborating on each topic and explaining what they mean and how we can achieve them.
To begin, look to the very bottom where it reads:
“Awareness of your own posture, plus awareness of proper posture which leads to conscious correction.”
We’ll begin here.
A lot of our movement and postural patterns can be without our awareness.
A beginning to good posture starts by looking in the mirror. Try this and correct yourself as you see fit to give you a correct stance. Also try this sitting.
A little trick I share with my clients is to stand and take a quick short breath through your nose into your upper chest. This will lift and rotate the clavicles ( collar bones ) slightly up. As you exhale, maintain that body position. You’ll feel your abdominal muscles activate and the muscles in your mid back firing.
As you take the next normal breath, notice how much deeper it is. Yes, improper posture can impede your breathing.
You are now in correct posture.
I look forward to sharing our findings in the months ahead and attempting to answer any comments or questions you might have.
Yours in health,
- Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
- Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces.
- Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
- Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
- Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
- Prevents backache and muscular pain.
- Contributes to a good appearance.
To Achieve Good Posture You Will Require the Following:
- Good muscle flexibility
- Normal motion in the joints
- Strong postural muscles
- A balance of muscles on both sides of the spine
- Awareness of your own posture, plus awareness of proper posture which leads to conscious correction.