The Importance of Good Posture

“Sit up straight!” “Don’t slouch!” “Head up!” I heard this all the time from my parents when I was a kid. Can we all relate to this?

Turns out this nagging we all used to get from Mom and Dad was great advice.

Now fast forward to today with technological advances over the years, and it is even harder for all of us not to suffer from Upper Cross Syndrome with forward head posture and internally rounded shoulders. Too much sitting using computers, sitting in overly soft chairs while either on the couch watching TV or reading, or looking down staring at our phones all the time has magnified the opportunities for much of our time during our day being spent demonstrating poor postural habits (nearly 3 hours per day for the average adult!)

Short term effects of poor posture may include head- ache, neck pain, and back pain. However long-term effects can lead to what’s called hyperkyphosis, which is accentuated thoracic curvature (hunch back). This can decrease our respiratory function, decrease our balance, and may lead to a loss of our ability to perform activities of daily living.

So how can we begin to fight this? I believe it starts with awareness. In 1916 the Journal of the Osteopathic Association defined normal posture as “an equilibrium in which there is no strain on the ligaments and minimal expenditure of muscular force over and above the energy called muscle tone, a nice balance in which the center of gravity passes in the correct relation to the bony structures.” Simply put, proper postural alignment supported by an equal contribution of our muscles throughout our bodies.

With everything pulling us forward these days, how do we know we are in proper alignment?

During our classes here at the Fitness & Wellness Center, one thing you will hear us stress during all of our classes (both Land and Aqua) is to stand or sit up tall, keep your shoulder blades back, eyes up, and chin down. Over the last month, I have asked many of the participants of my Land Classes to try a self-assessment. This can be done standing with a flat wall or doorway right behind you The goal is to attempt to have three points of contact with the wall—your heels, your butt, and the back of your head. That sounds much easier than it actually is! It may be difficult to do without either tilting your chin up or bringing your feet forward away from the wall and leaning back against it. However, the more we do these quick 5 second self-assessments, the more our awareness is increased and along with proper strength training exercises may lead to improving our posture.

If you have any questions on exercises you can do to help improve your posture please come down to the Fitness & Wellness Center and our staff will be happy to assist you.

See you all soon,