Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture helps minimise the amount of strain imposed on our muscles, joints, and ligaments while performing our daily activities.
So why is proper posture essential to good health and fitness? We bet you already know these but it is worth being reminded of its beneficial effects to the body.
- Minimises muscle strain by keeping bones and joints in optimal alignment.
- Decreases the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces caused by overload and overstrain.
- Minimises ligament strain on the joints of the spine and posture loaded joints.
- Minimises fatigue due to more efficient use of muscles, allowing the body to use less energy.
- Helps prevents backaches and muscular pain.
- Contributes to a more positive and assertive appearance.
An understanding of what constitutes good posture which leads to conscious correction is very important. With practice, the correct posture for standing, sitting, and lying down will gradually replace your old posture. For the long term, such consciousness and habitual practice will bring you good muscle and joint flexibility, strong postural muscles, and balanced muscle tone on both sides of the spine.
Remember, as the twig is bent,
so grows the tree.
The Correct Way to Stand
Most people when asked to stand with good posture immediately stand tall, arching their spine and pulling their shoulders back. It looks uncomfortable and is a far cry from a healthy standing posture. Keep it simple – try using PUPPET POSTURE.
Puppet posture is a term we use to simplify the process of assuming correct posture. It works especially well with children as they can identify easily.
Imagine that you are a puppet (well, try to at least) with a string coming out of the top of your head. Gently lift the imaginary string upwards to straighten your spine. Your arms and shoulders will assume the best posture they can for your current spinal function. Watch yourself in the mirror to visualise what you are achieving. Practice regularly, it gets easier as your spine and muscles gain strength.
Sleep on your back or side only. Do not sleep on your stomach as this often causes lower back and neck strain. Use a quality contoured pillow that provides adequate support to your head and neck while sleeping.
When arising from bed, move to the side of the bed and push yourself up sideways while swinging your legs off the side. When your back is painful you may place a pillow under your knees (when on your back) or between your knees (when on your side).