Posture: What is it good for?

November 19, 2014

5ca9b5_98d0692b75d6422292508e03c2c17d1a.jpg_srz_p_624_1086_75_22_0.50_1.20_0We’ve all been told to “stand up straight”, but really understanding how our posture affects our body is key to making necessary improvements. According to the American Chiropractic Association, “Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities.” Unfortunately, when we don’t pay attention to our posture, we are more likely to maintain poor posture versus good posture.

To adequately “maintain proper posture, you need to have adequate muscle flexibility and strength, normal joint motion in the spine and other body regions, as well as efficient postural muscles that are balanced on both sides of the spine. In addition, you must recognize your postural habits at home and in the workplace and work to correct them, if necessary.” Adversely, if we allow poor posture to be our state of normalcy, then we are putting excessive strain on our muscles (and we all have enough strain already).

The most important take away from this is that we CAN correct our posture. To do this you have to start with self-awareness (what a concept). “Conscious awareness of your own posture and knowing what posture is correct will help you consciously correct yourself. With much practice, the correct posture for standing, sitting, and lying down will gradually replace your old posture. This, in turn, will help you move toward a better and healthier body position.”  Chiropractic care can help with our self-awareness and capacity to feel what we need to improve on.

Here are tips to maintain proper posture while sitting:

  • Keep your feet on the floor or on a footrest, if they don’t reach the floor.

  • Don’t cross your legs.

  • Your ankles should be in front of your knees.

  • Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.

  • Your knees should be at or below the level of your hips.

  • Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your low- and mid-back or use a back support.

  • Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground.

  • Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time.

Read more on what categorizes good versus poor posture on the American Chiropractic Association site: