Posture may not necessarily be something that most people pay close attention to – but it should be!
Most people refer to good posture as sitting and standing up straight with your shoulders pulled back. Maintaining good posture can be tiring for a lot of people, and due to this, we tend to revert back to old habits that work against good posture.
Sometimes, attempting to maintain good posture can lead to extra load on joints and ligaments of the spine. Our spines aren’t designed to be loaded in a bent or slouched position for long periods of time and this additional stress can result in stiffness and pain.
Another part of our bodies that suffers when we become hunched or slouched in our posture is our ribcage and therefore our lung expansion. This can lead to limits in oxygenation and therefore increases our breathing, which can trigger our stress response and impair our cognitive skills.
Another common effect of poor posture can be headaches and restrictions in the jaw, and muscles surrounding the jaw. This is due to our upper back and head sticking forward over our body, which results in tension around our jaw, face and neck.
Next time you think about good posture, rethink it as a balance of strength and mobility across the muscles and joints of the body. One way to do this is to vary your work position with an adjustable desk and varying your movements to mix up the loading patterns on your body.
Lower back posture, can be improved by moving the muscles around your spine and abdomen through their full range of motion, by engaging in exercises such as a Pelvic Tilt. Similarly, with upper back posture, a Thoracic Extension can be performed to improve posture and range of motion in this area.
Muscular balance is key to ensuring good posture and you need to continue practices to assist with this. Allowing time to work on improving your posture is essential to improving your strength, mobility and risk of injury and stiffness.