What is Posture?
Posture is how you hold your body and there are two types to think about:
Dynamic posture is how you hold yourself when you are moving, like when you are walking, running, or bending over to pick up something.
Static posture is how you hold yourself when you are not moving, like when you are sitting, standing, or sleeping.
It is important to make sure that you have good dynamic and static posture.
The key to good posture is the position of your spine. Your spine has three natural curves – at your neck, mid back, and low back. Correct posture should maintain these curves, but not increase them. Your head should be above your shoulders, and the top of your shoulder should be over the hips.
Think about it…
How many hours a day do you spend sitting? Reading, using computers, driving, watching TV. All that sitting adds up, especially if you have poor posture. Did you know that lower back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions account for one third of missed work in Canada?
Good posture not only makes you look better, it also delivers increased energy, better breathing, improved circulation, and less wear and tear on your joints. It’s an investment in both your appearance and your health.
The secret to good posture is maintaining the spine’s natural curves. If your spine is not properly aligned, your muscles and ligaments have to work harder to keep you upright and this can result in strain and pain.
When you slouch, you also put pressure on your lungs and stomach. This can affect breathing and digestion, as well as blood flow.
Take the Posture Test
- When standing your head, shoulders, hips and ankles should line up, one comfortably above the other.
- Your knees should be slightly bent and your feet should be shoulder width apart or more.
- When looking at your back are your shoulders and hips level or is one side higher than the other?
- Does your head tilt to one side or the other?
- Does one shoulder blade seem to be more prominent than the other?
- Do the muscles of the back seem more developed on one side, compared to the other?
- A healthy back should be symmetrical.
- When looking from the side, your neck and low back should curve to the front of your body, and your mid-back and pelvis should curve to the back.
Tips for Improving Posture
- Be mindful of your posture during everyday activities, like watching television, washing dishes, or walking.
- Stay active. Any kind of exercise may help improve your posture, but certain types of exercises can be especially helpful. They include yoga, tai chi, and other classes that focuses on body awareness. It is also a good idea to do exercises that strengthen your core (muscles around your back, abdomen, and pelvis).
- Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight can weaken your abdominal muscles, cause problems for your pelvis and spine, and contribute to low back pain. All of these can hurt your posture.
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes. High heels, for example, can throw off your balance and force you to walk differently. This puts more stress on your muscles and harms your posture.
- Make sure work surfaces are at a comfortable height for you, whether you’re sitting in front of a computer, making dinner, or eating a meal.
Good posture is about more than standing up straight so you can look your best. It is an important part of your long-term health. Making sure that you hold your body the right way, whether you are moving or still, can prevent pain, injuries, and other health problems.
The Benefits of Good Posture
- Increases core strength
- Prevents back aches and muscle pains
- Decreases wear and tear on your joints
- Increases lung capacity
- Increases spine’s flexibility and resilience
- Improves digestion and circulation
- Increases energy for daily tasks
- Increases your confidence when you look and feel so good!
Chiropractors are specialists in back health. If you are concerned about your posture, consider an evaluation. You can book a free 15 minute consultation with our chiropractor today!