What is Posture?

Posture refers to the alignment of our bodies when we stand, sit, or lie down. Good posture means that our body is correctly aligned, so that our body parts are supported against gravity by the right amount of muscle tension.

There are certain muscles that maintain our posture for us. The hamstrings and large back muscles, among others, are critically important in maintaining good posture. These postural muscles prevent the forces of gravity from pushing us over. Postural muscles also maintain our posture and balance during movement.

Why is Good Posture Important?

  • Good posture ensures that we place the least amount of strain on our muscles and ligaments when we stand, walk, sit, and lie down.
  • Ensures we use our muscles correctly by keeping our bones and joints in correct alignment. This also decreases the chance of abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
  • Reduces stress on the ligaments of spinal joints, which minimizes the likelihood of injury.
  • Our bodies use/need less energy as our muscles work more efficiently.
  • Prevents back and muscular pain.

A woman demonstrates her good posture in a yoga move.

Muscle flexibility; strength; normal joint motion in the spine and other parts of the body, and efficient postural muscles that are balanced on both sides of the spine, all play a vital role in having good posture. To improve your posture you must recognize your postural habits at home and in the workplace and work to correct them.

3 Easy Ways to Improve Posture

Your chiropractor can assist you with correct posture, and will be able to recommend certain exercises to strengthen your core postural muscles. They should also be able to assist with choosing proper postures for your activities, which can help reduce the risk of injury. However, the following three practices can help improve your posture, through simple methods, which can be practiced at home or work.

How to Sit with Good Posture

Keep your feet on the floor or on a footrest, if your feet are not able to reach the floor. Your legs should not be crossed. Your ankles should be positioned so that they rest in front of your knees. A small gap should be kept between the back of your knees and the front of your seat. In your seat, your knees should be at or below the level of your hips. If you are unable to get your body in these positions, you need to adjust the backrest of your chair. It is important that the backrest also support your low to mid-back. Keep your shoulders relaxed and forearms parallel to the ground. Even though this positioning allows you to obtain good posture, you should avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time.

How to Stand with Good Posture

When you stand, you should bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet. Keep your knees slightly bent with your feet shoulder-width apart. Let your arms hang naturally by your sides. Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled backward and your stomach tucked in. Your earlobes should be in line with your shoulders to keep your head level. If you are standing for a long period of time, you should shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or from one foot to the other.

How to Lie Down with Good Posture

It is important to find the mattress that is right for you. A firm mattress is generally recommended, however, some people find that softer mattresses reduce their back pain. Once you have found the correct mattress for your back and its needs, it is recommended to sleep with a pillow. There are special pillows available to help with postural problems. It is much better to sleep on your side or back if you experience back pain. When sleeping on your side, place a pillow between your legs, and when sleeping on your back, place a pillow under your knees for added comfort. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.

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