Your posture is a reflection of your health; how you look, move, and feel. Whether static or in motion, everyone can feel the effects of posture at all times. Good posture demonstrates confidence, balance, and pain-free movement; it allows you to enjoy time at home or at work and can enhance the quality of your exercise routine contributing to an overall feeling of better health and wellness.
Proper posture is a key component to optimal health and wellness:
Perhaps the most important benefit of good posture is that it improves the function of the internal organs. When the body is in a slouched forward position (head and shoulders rolled forward), our rib cage is actually pushing down on our internal organs. Common short-term effects of bad posture are muscular soreness, neck pain, back pain, and headaches. If postural imbalances go uncorrected, further consequences may occur throughout the body, such as: spinal degeneration, arthritic joints, decreased respiratory capacity, digestive issues, decreased balance, and migraines.
The benefits of proper posture:
- Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly and efficiently.
- Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
- Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
- Optimizes breathing and circulation
- Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions (for example an abnormal lateral curvature, or scoliosis).
- Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
- Improves organ function.
- Prevents strain or overuse problems.
- Prevents backache, neck pain, and diffuse muscular pain.
- Contributes to a good appearance.
Consequences of poor posture:
Poor posture can prevent a person from performing basic activities of daily living with full efficiency. Prolonged postural distortion patterns can lead to postural related problems such as pain and discomfort, spinal misalignments, muscular imbalances, loss of range of motion and muscular strength, and even permanently stretched ligaments. Can you imagine experiencing pain or discomfort while doing simple daily activities?
Good posture is also good prevention. Poor posture, however, can lead to excessive strain on our postural muscles and may even cause them to weaken when held in certain positions for long periods of time. For example, you can typically see this in people who bend forward at the waist for a prolonged time in the workplace. Their postural muscles are more prone to injury and back pain.
Several factors contribute to poor posture-most commonly, stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles, and high-heeled shoes. In addition, decreased flexibility, a poor work environment, incorrect working posture, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits can also contribute to poor body positioning.