Posture is the position in which you hold your body whether you are standing, sitting or lying. Good posture is the maintenance of the optimum body position that minimizes the stress on the spine and surrounding structures.
A healthy spine has three natural curves: 1. An inward or forward curve at the neck ( cervical lordosis) 2. An outward or backward curve at the upper back (thoracic kyphosis) 3. An inward curve at the lower back (lumbar lordosis).
Good posture involves activation of the muscles responsible for maintaining these natural curves. Thus, strength and stability co-exist with good posture. Maintaining good posture reduces the stresses and strains on the supportive muscles and ligaments. In the event of injury, working to maintain good posture allows the body to heal in optimum positions while tissue is healing.
Effects of bad posture
Even without injury, faulty posture can lead to numerous ailments due to the constant abnormal stresses and mechanical deformation of otherwise normal tissue. This in turn can set the stage for potential injury due to already stressed tissue. Poor postural habits can lead to reduced spinal mobility especially in the underexercised individual who leads a sedentary life style.
Postural pain can occur due to prolonged overstretching of tissues. This pain will subside immediately upon changing positions. This happens most commonly in students who spend many hours sitting at a desk or at a computer.
Posture that is altered such that the center of gravity is affected may also increase a person’s risk for falling.
Ways to help promote good posture.
1. Maintain good posture by keeping ears, shoulders and hips in good vertical alignment
2. Move! Avoid prolonged sedentary positions. Change positions often.
3. Exercise! Be aware of your body position when engaging in any exercise program. Participate in exercise programs such as yoga or pilates that emphasizes good body alignment.
4. Use props, such as a lumbar roll, that help you maintain good posture.