It’s the start of a new year, and, as is customary, Americans around the country are committing to New Year Resolutions. As you make your list of self-improvements in 2019, consider adding this to the list: good posture. In recent decades, good posture has gone the way of the 8-track tape and rotary dial phone, and there’s not so many people around who possess it. However, good posture is more than a nice thing to have; it’s a necessity for good health.
Why does good posture matter?
In broad terms, “posture” is the position we hold our bodies in while standing, sitting or even lying down. “Good posture” is the term given for posture that is in the correct alignment of body parts, supported by the right amount of muscle tension. Good posture matters because not only does it help us walk, stand, sit and lie down, it helps us to do all of those things while putting the least amount of strain possible on the muscles and ligaments that work to support us throughout the day. According the American Chiropractic Association, good posture also achieves the following:
- Keeps bones and joints in correct alignment so that muscles are used correctly. When muscles are used correctly, there’s less abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
- Reduces stress on the ligaments holding your spinal joints together – thus minimizing the likelihood of injury here, too.
- Muscles work more efficiently, preventing muscle fatigue.
- Helps to prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, back and muscular pain.
What’s more, recent research from 2014 found that “adopting an upright seated posture in the face of stress can maintain self-esteem, reduce negative mood, and increase positive mood compared to a slumped posture. Furthermore, sitting upright increases rate of speech and reduces self-focus.” Yes, you read that correctly: good posture helps you to maintain your positivity, even in stressful situations.
What happens if I don’t have good posture?
The answer to this question depends on the individual asking it. For instance, a person with poor posture in a workplace would be more prone to injury and back pain, largely due to the repetitive movements common in the workforce. Consider bending forward at the waist while standing for 6 to 8 hours a day – such aggravated poor posture will likely lead to issues down the line.
Over time, poor posture leads to excessive strain on the postural muscles. These muscles begin to relax when held in certain positions for long periods of time. Extended bouts of poor posture are harder to correct than short-lived postural problems, so practice conscious awareness of how your postural muscles are positioned throughout the day.
Why does poor posture happen?
This question’s answer, too, depends on the person asking. Poor posture can happen for a variety of reasons: stress, obesity and pregnancy are all common reasons. Additionally, a person might have weak postural muscles, poor flexibility or abnormally tight muscles, all of which contribute to poor posture. Plus, things like wearing high-heeled shoes, working in a poor-posture position and long-ingrained unhealthy sitting and standing habits can also have an impact on one’s overall posture.
Proper posture requires muscle flexibility and strength, normal joint movement in the spine and efficient postural muscles that are balanced on either side of the spine. If any of these are lacking, poor posture is the result.
How can I maintain good posture?
Here’s where the doctors at Van Ness Chiropractic come in. Your chiropractor will help you attain proper posture by recommending exercises to strengthen your core postural muscles. Drs. Van Ness, Parkin and Sabri will also help you to determine the proper posture to maintain during life’s daily activities. Make an appointment this month to start off 2019 with healthy posture practices. Call 847-842-8070 to make an appointment today, or visit https://www.vannesschiro.com/contact-us/request-an-appointment/.
For action items that you can complete right here and now, follow the below tips to sit and stand properly:
To sit properly: Keep your feet on the floor or on a footrest with your legs uncrossed and your ankles in front of your knees. Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground.
To stand properly: Keep your knees slightly bent, with feet about shoulder-width apart and the weight of your body chiefly on the balls of your feet. Stand straight and tall with shoulders pulled backward and your stomach tucked in.
See the full list of tips at https://acatoday.org/content/posture-power-how-to-correct-your-body-alignment.