08 Feb The importance of having a good posture
Most people know that having a good posture is important, but how many of us are aware of how we stand and sit on a day-to-day basis? The diagram below illustrates four of the more common postures; there are of course variations to these. From left to right (image below) postures are A. Normal B. Kyphosis/Lordosis (curves), C. Flat back D. Sway back
So why do people have such differing postures? It relates to body types, how we modeled our parents’ postures, and how we learned to sit and walk as we were growing up. Injuries can affect our posture. Likewise our posture also influences our injuries, as it dictates how we move our bodies, and which muscles are weak, tight or strong.
Of course we all want to have the ideal ‘normal ‘alignment (see Fig. A), but sadly most of us fall into one of the other three categories. The good news is that through awareness, observation, feeling and practice you can make a big difference to your posture. If poor posture is detracting from your overall physical wellbeing then an assessment by a qualified physiotherapist can help.
How do we correct our posture?
- Awareness – have your posture professionally assessed so you know where it is not aligned.
- Observation – stand in front of a mirror and observe how your bones line up according to the plumb line shown in the image. Your hip bone should be over the ankle bone, your breast bone over the pubic bone and chin tucked in so your ear lobe over the shoulder. Weight should also feel evenly distributed over the feet. Place a finger on each bony landmark and stand sideways to a mirror to check.
- Feeling – now close your eyes and feel how the new position feels in your body.
- Practice – check your posture regularly. The more often you do this the more your neuromuscular system will change so it will become automatic. The neuromuscular system here refers to the messages from the brain to the body. The more often you check in with your posture the quicker it will change. Neuromuscular changes usually take between 3-12 weeks.
- Feedback – use a mirror to check your posture daily, and check in with your physio to see you have it right.