Posture and Health
Posture is one of the pillars for good health, vitality, performance and overall wellbeing, similar to exercise, sleep and nutrition. It ensures that the body is well positioned to perform its various internal functions and daily life activities while sitting, sleeping, walking or when engaged in various physical activities. Posture is important to balance the force of gravity on our muscles, joints and ligaments and ensure an equal distribution to avoid over stressing some areas.
Benefits of Correct Posture
Posture is about maintaining a good body balance, symmetry and correct skeletal alignment. Ensuring the different body parts are in their proper position distributes muscle tension evenly, minimizing stress and fatigue, among other benefits:
- promotes better coordination of muscles, ligaments and joints which facilitates execution of physical tasks for longer time and less energy as movement flows naturally;
- maintains a proper position of the spine and overall musculoskeletal system, minimizing tension and risk of injury;
- enables a long term alignment and balance of muscles, ligaments, joints and the nervous system, avoiding deterioration and damage which can lead to chronic pain, inflammation and other symptoms;
- a balanced posture promotes proper flow and function of all systems (e.g., circulation, respiration, digestion, etc.) which facilitates better distribution of oxygen, signals, nutrients and removal of toxins;
- posture can affect how you feel: a good posture can increase feelings of confidence and self-esteem, as well as enable better focus and concentration.
Reasons for Poor Posture
Muscle strength and range of motion are key factors for posture. Bad sitting and sleeping habits, injury, surgery, lack of stretching and exercise, physical and psychological tension, and poor ergonomic furniture are some of the reasons muscles become weak, tight and inflexible. Poor posture can lead to spinal compression stress which can impact any other part of the body. A “tech neck” which is known to keep your head and neck forward is a common posture problem that disrupts balance and typically creates tension and risk in the neck, shoulders and head. Migraines, tingling or eye problems can possibly be related to postural misalignment.
What is Good Posture
According to Harvard Medical School, a correct posture requires:
- the chin parallel to the floor
- shoulders, knees and hips at even heights
- a neutral spine
- elbows and knees straight and even
- body weight balanced and evenly distributed on both feet (facing straight ahead)
However, the term “good posture” is generalistic. It is utopic to think that a standard good posture exists for everyone. The best posture for an individual on any given moment in time is the one where the body of the individual is positioned in space in such a way that enables him to be efficient mechanically and energetically, resulting in optimum performance of movement or task execution.
Correcting a poor posture can often be achieved with simple exercises and the help of a health professional. While the body adjusts and transitions to a new form, it might experience temporary discomfort and pain. Be persistent in bringing or maintaining your body in the correct alignment and be mindful throughout the day to check your posture.