Day to day life impacts your posture more than you think. Sitting at a desk for work, slouching in front of the TV or at a computer all impact our posture on a daily basis. We always notice other people’s posture, but are less likely to recognise our own.
So, what exactly is posture?
Posture can be defined as the unconscious position assumed by your body in response to gravity. We do not normally consciously think about maintaining our posture, as our muscles do it for us.
What influences your posture?
Posture is impacted by 2 main factors, which are your genes and how you use your body. While we don’t have any control over the genes that we inherit, we can control how we use your body. Taking care of your body through exercise and how you use it during basic activities such as sitting, standing or sleeping can all influence your posture.
Good posture means that your body parts are correctly aligned and being supported by the correct amount of muscle tension.
Does bad posture have negative consequences?
Yes! Poor posture can lead to muscle and ligament imbalances, which can lead to a number of problems, including back, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, stiffness, muscle weakness and an increased risk of injury.
What can you do?
Be conscious about the position of your body during day to day life. A couple of simple ways to do this include:
- Keep your head aligned with your shoulders. This is common particularly in people who sit at a desk or computer for hours every day. When you notice your head tilting forward, bring it backwards in alignment with your shoulders.
- Avoid slouching. If you are slouching over while sitting down, actively think about pull them back towards each other and straighten your back.
Exercise and stretching
Depending on what is causing your poor posture, exercises and stretching may be beneficial.
- Strengthening – Strength exercises targeting your back muscles can help to strengthen muscles in your back which may be weak and causing you to slouch.
- Foam rolling and stretching – The use of foam rolling and stretches for your back and hips can help relieve tightness and may influence posture. A good one to try is the cat-cow, which helps to relieve lower back pain.
It is best to get professional advice on which exercises might help you.