I’m just like you. I slouch at my computer or while watching TV, forget to stand up straight when standing in line at the grocery store or movies, or don’t take inventory of my body when I am doing chores around the house. I can go for days without paying attention to how I am sitting, standing, or moving.
After all, I have a life to live, and constant vigilance can be a drag. But, so far, so good. Nothing really bad has happened to me because I don’t always sit around in optimal alignment. Perhaps you are thinking the same thing.
But is that really true? Take a minute to think about the areas of your body that ache or hurt at times. Low back? Neck? Hips? Knees? Shoulders?
In a nutshell, good posture = muscles in balance = coordinated movement. Taking it a bit further, you could add PAIN FREE movement in a lot of cases. Of course there are other reasons why your body can hurt. There’s genetic misalignment, wear and tear, previous injuries and scar tissue, and certain diseases. But we can go a long way to alleviate some chronic aches and pains by working on posture.
Trickle-down effects from having good posture
Less chance of injury when exercising. There is no way to express how HUGE this is. When muscles are in chronic misalignment, they don’t work as well as they are meant to. Some muscles overwork to compensate for ones that are not able to do their job. That means it takes less of a stress or strain to cause an injury. Sometimes the aches and pains we experience are little injuries that have already happened because of poor posture.
Your joints move more freely and you are more flexible. For instance, correction of rounded shoulders means you can reach behind you more easily, as you would if reaching from the driver’s seat to get something from the back seat. Or, correcting an exaggerated forward tilt of your pelvis can alleviate back pain and make your walking stride more comfortable and efficient.
Your balance improves. Really. This can happen. As I said before, when your body is out of alignment, muscles don’t work together as they are meant to. Better alignment makes it easier for your body to hold a position against gravity without working extra hard to keep you upright.
Not convinced? Try it. Stand up and let your shoulders droop forward and your belly relax. Now balance on one leg and see how it feels and how long you can do it. Next, take a moment to lengthen your body by imagining a string coming out the top of your head that draws you toward the ceiling. Draw in your abdominals and lift your chest to bring your shoulders back. Balance again. You will probably feel more in control of your balance now, and can stand on one leg for longer.
One final note
Often being able to improve our posture isn’t as easy as just remembering to sit up or stand straight. Stretching, strengthening, and mobilization of muscles and joints (aka, exercise) is the best way to make sure you are looking after your posture.
© 2022 Kristen Carter. All rights reserved.
Photo Credit: Ablokhin | iStock