Throughout my childhood, I remember being reminded on many occasions about good posture, without realising its importance. And this is the issue we, as Osteopaths, face every day.
The term “posture” is used to describe how your body is positioned when you are sitting, standing and lying down. One of the most important things about body mechanics and posture is alignment. Alignment refers to how the head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles relate and line up with each other. Proper alignment of the body puts less stress on the spine and helps you have good posture.
It can be hard to break your postural habits, we are a nation who does not like change, but the first step is to understand its importance.
- Good posture helps keep our bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly. This can help to reduce the chance of degenerative arthritis, joint pain, stress on the ligaments, muscle strain, overuse disorders, and back and muscular pain. Muscles can work more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy and, therefore, preventing muscle fatigue and injury.
- Poor posture compresses the body, which is bad for breathing and in turn affects the nervous system. To compensate for this, our lungs and heart have to work harder causing unwanted stress in the body.
- Good posture, as opposed to a slumped position, can help to boost self-confidence, which then reflects how others portray you.
- When it comes to the digestive system, good posture allows the internal organs in the abdomen to assume their natural position without undue compression, which helps our circulation and digestion work efficiently.
- A good posture can make you look slimmer, younger and your clothes will look better.
- Bad posture has been proven to have a negative effect on mood. When you remain seated your external and internal processes are slowed and your energy levels also decrease, further affecting your overall mood. Take note of your posture the next time you feel anxious about something.
- Good posture can help keep the back and spine healthy, especially for those who spend hours sitting down each day. Lack of adequate back support can add strain to muscles and put stress on the spine, which over time can have longer term effects on the blood vessels and nerves.
Regardless of what you are doing, sitting or standing, take note of your posture right now. Good postural alignment will allow your body to work more efficiently with less fatigue and strain on your body’s ligaments and muscles. Start making that change today.
By David Kennett