The benefits of good posture
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Posture refers to the way you hold your body when sitting, standing, laying, and walking. Good posture helps prevent excessive strain on the joints and muscles of your body, which helps to reduce pain and minimize your risk of injury. Good posture can even boost your self- esteem and mood. While it takes time and effort to train your body to maintain good posture, the health benefits are definitely worth it!
What Does Good Posture Look Like?
Let’s first discuss the anatomy of your spine. Your spine is comprised of three natural curves that need to be aligned correctly so that the weight of your body is evenly distributed over both of your feet.
The three curves of your spine are:
Good posture means that your ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle are in alignment from the side. In a standing position, good posture involves:
In a seated position, your chin should be parallel to the floor, with your shoulders, hips and knees even, and your knees and feet pointing forward.
Benefits of Good Posture
Having good posture not only contributes to a good appearance, but it has many health benefits, including:
Causes and Effects of Poor Posture
Unfortunately, good posture can be a challenge to maintain. Humans weren’t designed to sit in chairs or hold prolonged postures. We are designed to move! There are a number of factors responsible for poor posture; the most common factors that lead to poor posture include a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, stress, weak or tightened muscles, and pregnancy.
Poor posture can affect your body from head to toe; common conditions that can arise due to poor posture include:
Exercising to Improve Posture
You can improve your posture by performing certain core strength and flexibility exercises, particularly for your chest and hip muscles. It’s important to be conscious of your posture while you exercise, which may mean checking your position in the mirror or having a qualified Physical Therapist monitor your exercise program. The good news is that once you start increasing your core strength and overall flexibility, you’ll start to notice improvements in your posture in a few short weeks.
Everyday Tips to Improve Posture
In addition to increasing your core strength and flexibility, there are numerous things you can do every day to improve your posture, including:
Remember, gravity is always working against you so frequently changing postures is key to prevent muscle fatigue or even more permanent changes to your spine. The BEST posture if often the NEXT posture! Your goal is to spend more time in an optimal position that a dysfunctional one, but even the perfect posture will be tiring over time so wriggle, shift, get up and walk around, stretch, and move every 30 minutes if you can.
If you’re looking to improve your posture, you may benefit from Physical Therapy, which will involve an individualized treatment plan that is tailored specifically to your postural issues. You will work with your Physical Therapist to set goals and track your progress as you work through your treatment plan.
Undergoing a Physical Therapy assessment is one of the best ways to ensure you have good posture. After the assessment, our Physical Therapists will create a program that is specific to your needs, and set you on the right path toward optimal posture. Massage Therapy is also a key team member in maintaining good posture and healthy tissues. They are experts in finding those shortened or tight bands of muscle that aren’t letting you move well. A proper course of treatment can really make your muscles more limber and ready for strength training, and keep a lot of muscle pain to at bay!
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