Good Posture: What is it and Why it is Important
What does having good posture actually mean? It’s not only about standing and sitting tall with your shoulders back and in a relaxed position at all times. Good posture, also known as neutral spine, is the proper alignment of the body where the muscle groups, joints, and ligaments are aligned in a way that reduces stress on them. Although there is no “perfect” posture, our posture is usually influenced through habits that we have developed over the years. If you’re experiencing low back pain as a result of poor posture, incorporating 10 stretches to alleviate your low back pain into your daily routine can make a significant difference.
The key to having good posture is maintaining the natural curve of your spine at the neck, mid back, and low back when sitting, standing, sleeping, and driving and ensuring that you are not increasing these curves.
There are two types of ways in which we use our body’s joints and segments to maintain posture during our day-to-day activities:
The first is dynamic posture. This is used for activities that involve movement, such as walking or running and function to efficiently keep the body in alignment during movement. In this position, the body has a level of readiness so that it is ready to move quickly without having to change positions and potentially lead to injury. This means that the knees are slightly bent, arms are relaxed, and head is forward.
The second one is static posture. This is when the body is resting or holding a position with minimum effort, such as sitting or standing. Prolonged static posture can be dangerous for your musculoskeletal health as the minimum movement in these fixed positions can lead to muscle strain, stiffness, or fatigue. When in this position, the knees are locked and the back tends to naturally round to a C curve shape.
Dynamic and static posture are interrelated and when there is an imbalance on either or both, you may experience tension, pain, or an injury on your back.
What is poor posture?
Poor posture is when the positioning of the spine is non-neutral. It can occur from stress and strain from daily activities leading to muscle tightness over time. This imbalance may initially stem from slumping in your chair or curving your shoulders forward when you sit/stand and if this is not corrected, then over time, it may lead to a number of health conditions that affect your daily life.
One complication is pain and stiffness throughout the body. When your spine is not in proper alignment, it places excessive stress on the surrounding nerves and joints and this can be the cause of your neck, mid back, or low back pain that you experience from time to time. It is important to bring your spine back to its natural alignment and maintain that as to prevent having such issues arise.
Another complication that could arise as a result of poor posture are balance and mobility issues. If your shoulders and/or pelvis are asymmetrical, you may be more likely to lose your balance when standing or walking and this could lead to a serious injury if you are not careful.
Breathing difficulty is one other complication that may possibly arise if poor posture is not corrected. If the spine is not in proper alignment, it can impede your lungs’ full ability to take in and release oxygen. As a result, you may not receive a sufficient amount of oxygen and this can lead to a number of health concerns.
If you are an athlete or enjoy playing sports in your free time, maintaining good posture is critical. If you have poor posture as an athlete, it can lead to an increased risk of muscle strains, sprains, or inflammation which may hinder your ability to play at your best. For example, when playing golf, the positioning of your neck and shoulders can have an impact on the shots you make while on the golf course.
How can you improve your posture (exercises)?
If you are wanting to improve your posture for health related reasons, or even for aesthetic purposes, there are many ways through which you can work on it and improve your overall well being.
The first is through exercising. Poor posture can be an indication of weak muscles as a result of lack of regular physical activity. By stretching and exercising on a regular basis, you will strengthen your muscles and train your body to hold an improved posture for longer periods of time. Not only does exercising lead to better posture, but better posture can also lead to improved exercise performance. Once you are aware of the positioning of your body, it will minimize the stress on your muscles and tissues and lead to more effective performance. Improving your posture includes taking care of your feet, which bear the weight of your aligned posture. Learn about 7 effective Plantar Fasciitis exercises to relieve your foot pain for comprehensive postural health.
The second way to improve your posture is by visiting a chiropractor! A chiropractor is a skilled medical professional who addresses the underlying causes of neck and back issues and uses non-surgical methods to treat and correct the concerned area. The main approach used is manual adjustments which focus on the spinal joints and surrounding muscle tissue and this can help realign the spine and improve your posture. It’s important to note that to change posture, your chiropractor will recommend a treatment plan for you over a period of time based on your specific presentation and also suggest stretches/strengthening exercises to hold your adjustments in place. For a deeper understanding of how chiropractic care can contribute to correcting posture and spinal health, read more about what a chiropractor does, who needs it, and how often you should go.
What are posture correctors?
With more people working from home after the pandemic, posture correctors have become quite popular as people working from the comfort of their beds or couch find their posture worsening. Posture correctors are devices that are designed to address muscle imbalances and mainly work by holding back and supporting hunched shoulders into the proper position to maintain a straight posture at all times. There are many different types and forms of posture correctors on the market. The most familiar are cross-back harnesses, long line back braces and electronic posture reminders.
Do posture correctors work?
The basic principle is that if an external device does the work for you, your own muscles will shut down or atrophy. As a result, dependence will be formed on the posture corrector your back and shoulder will likely go right back to their rounded state. The best thing you can do is work on stretches and targeted strengthening to help improve your posture long term.
Rather than rely on a posture corrector, try adding these simple exercises and stretches to your regime!
- Child’s pose
- Cat Cow
- Chin Tuck
- Pectoral Doorway Stretch
Why maintain good posture?
Good posture is important to your long term health as it serves in keeping your bones and joints in proper alignment. In addition, practicing good posture aids in keeping your blood vessels and nerves healthy, while boosting your energy levels. This helps reduce and prevent any postural pain and strain that could build up over time from poor posture. Maintaining your posture is key to supporting your muscles and the rest of your body, so that it can function properly without pain.
Another main function of posture is balance, since balance comes from good posture. And as we age, that becomes more important due to our sense of balance weakening which may lead to more falls that are potentially harmful to your bones and joints. Creating healthy postural habits as early as possible while working to improve your posture will help to build the foundation for your sense of balance so that when you age, your overall balance is still preserved.
Good posture leads to increased energy as your muscles and joints do not have to work harder to function properly. It will result in less body aches and pains which will have a direct impact on your overall well-being and quality of life. In sum, maintaining good posture positively affects your health.
Ergonomics play a critical role in maintaining good overall posture since we are a reflection of our environment. Ergonomics, or the study of people in their working environment, allows us to determine how to best set up our work and living space to ensure that the highest level of productivity can be achieved. Having an ergonomic workplace is essential to increase productivity, decrease stress and pain. When your body is comfortable and relaxed, you can focus on your work without additional stress.
Customize your ergonomics to you and your unique needs or situation. Proper ergonomics will aid in reducing discomfort and help you maintain good posture, and allow you to work without worrying about pain at the end of the day. This in turn will help with productivity and allow you to focus on what matters most. Incorporating ergonomic tools like custom orthotics into your daily life can support proper posture; find out how much custom orthotics are and who needs them.
There are many ways to create an ergonomic workplace set up. The first is to start by setting up your desk so that your computer screen is at eye level and your elbows are positioned 90 degrees to your desk. Keep your spine straight and eyes leveled so that it does not cause too much strain during longer hours of sitting.
We understand that healthcare costs are a consideration, which is why we offer direct billing to your insurance provider, making the process as seamless as possible. If you are interested in working with a chiropractor or registered massage therapist to help improve your posture, please contact our office and we will be happy to assist you in scheduling an appointment! We hope you enjoyed the above read 🙂
Take the Next Step Towards Better Posture
Ready to embark on a journey to improved posture and overall wellness? Whether you’re dealing with the discomfort of back pain or simply aiming to enhance your posture for better health and confidence, help is within reach. Take action today and schedule an appointment with the leading chiropractor in Burnaby. Our expert team is dedicated to guiding you through personalized chiropractic care and supportive therapies designed to align your spine, relieve pain, and teach you the vital exercises to maintain optimal posture. Don’t let another day pass you by in discomfort—click the link and let us support you in achieving the balance and well-being you deserve.