I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up my mother constantly harped on me to keep my shoulders back and to stand up straight. All that harping must have worked because today it is my number one point I tell all my clients-“Stand up straight, shoulders back, and begin”. We live in a society where most of us spend a good part of our day slumped forward in front of a computer or watching tv. As a result, a fair portion of the population has taken on what I refer to as “office posture”; shoulders rounded forward, neck poked forward and bent forward slightly at the waist.
Posture or neutral spine refers to the natural curves that are present in a healthy spine. If you were to stand next to a plumb line, it should cross the ears, torso, knees and ankles and it should all be in line. That is good posture! According to the Websters New World Medical Dictionary, neutral posture is the stance which is attained when the joints are not bent and the spine is aligned and not twisted.
One major reason you want to correct your posture is because poor posture increases stress on joints and damages or changes to the surrounding tissue could result. There are a whole host of reasons why someone may have poor posture, but below are some of the more common ones:
- poor postural habits
- poor self-esteem
- degenerative processes
- pain or avoidance postures
- muscular imbalances or spasms
- joint hyper and/or hypo mobility
- respiratory conditions
- general weakness
- excess body weight
On the other hand, keeping good posture helps to optimize breathing, aids in the circulation of bodily fluids, the stress on joints, muscles, vertebrae and tissue is minimized and the body functions at its strongest.
If you are a victim of poor posture, I recommend having a full assessment from a trainer because for a majority of the population most postural issues can be corrected with consistent stretching and strength training. They can get you on the right track to improved health and posture. In future posts, I will discuss how weaknesses in your joints can affect your overall posture.