by The Welthi Bureau | 17th Jan, 2019
Straighten up as you read this, and if possible, stand or sit in front of a mirror so that you can assess your posture.
Posture is the way you hold your body while standing, sitting, or lying down. Good posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. Without posture and the muscles that control it, we would simply crumple up and fall to the ground.
We do not consciously maintain a normal posture. This is done by the muscles, and we don’t even have to think about it. Several muscle groups, including the hamstrings and large back muscles, are critically important to maintain a good posture. While the ligaments help to hold the skeleton together, these postural muscles, when functioning properly, prevent the forces of gravity from pushing us over. Postural muscles also maintain our posture and balance during movement.
You may wonder what good posture looks like. Well, a healthy spine has three natural curves that make an elongated ‘S’ shape: Forward at the neck, backward at the upper back and forward again at the lower back.
When your posture is good, your head is on top of your body in alignment with your spine, and not leaning forward either to right or left. Your shoulders are down and back, hips and knees are in a neutral position, and feet are shoulder width apart so that your body weight is distributed evenly. Your abdomen must be pulled in, knees soft and not locked, and you should be looking straight ahead and not down.
Why is Good posture of such great importance?
Good posture helps you keep good health. It keeps your bones and joints in correct alignment so that your muscles are used correctly, thereby decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
Good posture reduces injury. Maintaining a good posture reduces the stress on the ligaments that hold the spinal joints together, thus minimizing the likelihood of injury.
Good posture keeps you energetic. It promotes muscle efficiency, thereby enabling your body to use less energy and prevent muscle fatigue.
Good posture reduces body pains. It helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, back, and muscle pains.
Good posture relieves stress on bones and joints. Aligning your spine means that you’re using your muscles properly, thus reducing stress on your bones and joints and reducing your chances of developing osteoarthritis and other bone-related disorders, over time.
Good posture strengthens crucial core muscles. Your core muscles, which are the muscles in your back, hips, abdomen and pelvic floor, work in tandem to stabilize your spine and provide a foundation for your body’s movement. Maintaining a good posture while standing and sitting, are the best things you can do to activate your core.
Good posture enables you to breathe easily. Standing tall and pulling your shoulders back, opens up more space for your lungs to expand so that you can breathe more deeply and efficiently. Deep breathing relieves stress and keeps you in good health.
Good posture makes you feel positive. Research has shown that posture affects our emotions and thoughts, and vice versa. Slouching triggers negative thoughts and emotions, while sitting or standing upright encourages empowering thoughts.
Here are some ways in which you can improve your posture:
Stretch to relieve muscle tension and realign your posture.
Move around at regular intervals, as staying in one position for long periods of time leads to stiffness and slouching.
Keep your chin up even whilst texting, so that you prevent long-term neck problems.
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