Good posture requires all body parts to be in good balance and harmony with each other. When a person has good posture, the body’s alignment is balanced. In this state pressure and tension acting upon supporting structures such as muscles, tendons and cartilage, are minimal. However when a person has poor posture for a prolonged period of time, this can affect other parts of the body physically, forcing pressure and discomfort on other muscles and structures. This is where problems can occur, both physically and can also cause pain if posture is not corrected.
Good posture is important for many reasons including;
- muscle flexability
- good range of movement in joints
- higher endurance capacity (ability to repeat movements)
- muscular balance
- less strain and fatigue on the body
- avoid physical issues
- to avoid long term postural imbalances
- having more energy, less fatigue
- less stress
Common causes of poor posture include;
- poor muscle strength
- muscle imbalance
- lack of mobility
- damage to connective tissues or bone structures
- biochemics of the person
- change to centre of gravity, (pregnancy, inappropriate footwear, work practice, sports, physical activities)
- congenital abnormalities
Effects of bad posture;
- back pain
- neck pain
- muscle soreness and tightness in other areas
- spinal curvature
- nerve constriction
- poor circulation
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- poor digestion
- sleep issues
- bad moods
- pain in joints and muscles
- blood pressure
So how can we improve our posture and manage the effects?
Seeking professional advice from your Doctor, Physiotherapist or Trainer is a start and the best idea. They can provide exercises and stretches to help restore balance, range of motion and ease tension. They can also provide interventions and strategies for dealing with issues, pain management and programs.
What you can do yourself…..
- undertake flexibility and stretching classes or exercises
- take note of your posture, sit and stand with confidence, shoulders back
- strengthen weakened areas
- don’t overload weights
- massage therapy
- heat bags
- Epsom salt baths
- use a tennis ball or foam roller to roll out tight areas
- re-adjust seating positions at work, use standing desks if possible
- keep your head up when working at a computer, constant lowering can cause neck pain
- when working out, train both sides of the body, example, if you train your biceps, train your triceps, if you train your chest, train your back, this will help pull everything into alignment
- check your sleeping position, pillows, mattress, try sleeping with a pillow between your knees to keep your spine straight
Just remember if your unsure, keep consistant with the things you can do to improve your posture and ask your trainer or physio for a postural analysis.
*This information is based on the general population and don’t take into account individual differences, issues and medical conditions.