Many of us believe that our posture is very good, but the truth is that our brain has adapted to feeling balanced and straight when we’re not.
Posture refers to a person’s body in space and the alignment of different body parts in relation to one another. The human skeleton is designed to hold our bodies up, but bad posture means that different muscles are forced to do the job of the skeleton. When our muscles take over, it means they are burning unnecessary energy and not doing what they are meant to do. Constant bad posture can lead to musculoskeletal pain and to correct this, we need postural awareness.
‘Postural awareness is the subjective conscious awareness of body posture and is associated with pain intensity, physical and mental impairments in patients who experience chronic pain. Understanding one’s posture patterns is crucial due to its many benefits to maintain on optimal state of health.’
A relationship has been observed between spinal pain and posture which means that improving one’s posture can lead a decrease in musculoskeletal pain. Good posture can also lead to other benefits such as improved oxygenation and reduced pressure on intervertebral discs.
Posture can also be divided into either dynamic or static posture.
- Dynamic posture refers to how we hold ourselves when walking, running or lifting things. Muscles and other structures must keep working to adapt to changing circumstances.
- Static posture is how we hold ourselves when we are not moving like when sitting or standing. Our bodies are held in a static position by various muscle groups working together to counteract gravity.
The spine has three natural curves – neck, upper back and lower back – and good posture means maintaining these curves. In an ideal posture, a line should be passed through the lobe of the ear, the shoulder joint, the hip, the knee and the ankle.
If posture is poor for prolonged periods of time, it can start affecting your health. Increased spinal pressure, neck and back pain, decreased flexibility, make breathing more difficult and affect joint movement are just a few of the issues that could arise.
With over two years of many of us working from in front of our computers at our homemade workstations, our postures have gotten worse and worse. Therefore, is so important now to focus on correcting these imbalances and make our skeletons do the work instead of our muscles.
Work on your postural awareness during everyday activities, stay active, strengthen your core, maintain a healthy weight and make sure your work surfaces are at a comfortable height, so you are not slouching when working.