Most people these days have some understanding about how important posture is. However, perhaps not realizing just how important. The long term implications of poor posture can have profound effects on body structures such as joints, ligaments, muscles and spinal discs. Good posture entails holding the body in a position that aligns the center of gravity, meaning no one structure is taking excessive load and becoming over-stressed.
Think of the human skeleton in relation to buildings. If a building is poorly constructed, then it is less resistant to the stresses placed on it. Our body is much the same. If we are walking, running or even just sitting and standing with poor posture, then any external force transmitted through the body is unevenly, loading up certain areas more than others. Let’s take what happens to our muscles as an example. Muscles that are held in a shortened position overtime due to poor posture, will reduce in overall length and become weaker. Other muscles will therefore have to work harder to hold the body upright, meaning they become overactive, increasing in tension. The end result is imbalance. Overtime this imbalance can lead to the break down and degeneration of structures, which in turn causes pain and dysfunction.
It is all well and good to tell you about the impacts of poor posture, but what is more important is what can be done to improve it. This is where exercise can help.
Exercise that stretches and strengthens muscles, improves postural control and alignment, without straining the heart or joints. Encouraging good posture not only in static positions such as sitting and standing, but also during dynamic activates such as walking, lifting, or reaching out to pick something up.
By integrating improved postural control into movement patterns, this then overtime translates to postural changes in everyday life.
When your body is well aligned and your weight is balanced, your muscles require minimal effort to support you and your weight is evenly distributed avoiding excessive stress on ligaments and joints. Carrying out your day with good postural alignment will allow you to work more efficiently with less fatigue. Being more aware of your posture and how to improve is the first step to breaking habitual poor postures. By making the changes now, you may be able to prevent structural changes that can develop into injuries.
Saanich physiotherapy and sports clinic (2016). Posture-why it’s so important for injury prevention. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.saanichphysio.com/posture-why-it-is-so-important-for-injury-prevention/. [Accessed 5 April 2017].