The term ‘posture’ basically refers to the body’s alignment and positioning with respect to the ever-present force of gravity. Whether we are standing, sitting or lying down, gravity exerts a force on our joints, ligaments and muscles. Good posture entails distributing the force of gravity through our body, so no single structure is over-stressed.
Here are four reasons why good posture is important for your health:
1. Breathing Becomes Easier and Deeper.
For many of us, breathing isn’t something we think about on a daily basis. However, for those suffering chronic pulmonary conditions, breathing is something they constantly think about. For these individuals, poor posture such as rounded shoulder, can increase the effort required to breathe by reducing the amount of air that actually reaches the lungs. When we correct this postural imbalance, our patients often report that breathing requires less effort than before.
2. Improves Circulation and Digestion.
When it comes to the digestive system, proper posture allows the internal organs in the abdomen to assume their natural position, without undue compression, which can interfere with the normal flow and function of the gastrointestinal system.
3. Helps Your Muscles and Joints.
Good posture helps us to keep our bones and joints in correct alignment. This ensures our muscles are used correctly, hence decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces, which could result in degenerative changes and joint pain. It also reduces stress on the ligaments, minimising the likelihood of injury. Good posture allows our muscles to work more efficiently. It allows the body to use less energy and, therefore prevents muscle fatigue. It also helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back and muscular pain.
4. Promotes a Healthy Spine.
Correct posture is a simple yet very important way to keep the many intricate structures in the back and spine healthy. Back support is especially important for people who spend many hours sitting in an office chair, or standing throughout the day.
Not maintaining good posture and adequate back support can add strain to muscles, and place stress on the spine. Over time, the stress of poor posture can change the anatomical characteristics of the spine, leading to the possibility of constricted blood vessels and nerves.
Sitting and standing with proper postural alignment will allow one to work more efficiently, with less fatigue and strain on your body’s ligaments and muscles. Being aware of good posture is the first step to breaking old poor postural habits and reducing stress and strain on your spine.
The second step is releasing the tight, over-active structures and strengthening the weak ones. As Exercise Physiologists, this is where we start all of our clients. Posturural correction is the most critical phase of any exercise program, as it will establish a good exercise technique and help ensure you reach your long term goals.