A well-meaning parent or teacher has surely told you to correct the way you’re standing or sitting at some point in your life. “Don’t slouch”, “Sit still” “Don’t hunch your back”, we bet you’ve heard them too. However, the advice probably came with no explanation. What we do next is adopt the “good” posture: Suck in our gut, throw back our shoulders and arch our back. We might hold that ridiculous stance for several seconds and then collapse from fatigue, pain or lack of air. In fact, that’s not a good posture at all. It’s actually a pose. In order to understand what a good posture is in reality, we must first understand what are some of the myths and misconception we have.
Myth 1: Good posture equals standing/ sitting straight.
When “straight” is how we think of proper alignment, we manage to fix ourselves in a rigid position. In reality, the best posture is dynamic, which makes us ready to move in any direction without too much adjusting.
Myth 2: Good posture takes effort.
According to Feldenkrais Practitioner Ralph Strauch, Ph.D., “Good posture emerges as a by-product of fluid, aware movement, rather than something to be achieved through effortful striving.” Children move around a lot and fidget. Their posture while they sit or stand is fluid. Have you ever wondered why? It’s not because their bodies are younger or they have more energy. It’s because it takes less effort to remain fluid and more effort to remain static. Similarly, good adult posture doesn’t take more effort; it takes LESS, and you don’t have to work hard to maintain it.
Myth 3: Good posture means to never slump.
Slouching happens when your fascia system (the connective tissue between muscles and internal organs) and nervous system are under ‘stretch’. Usually we get into a slump posture when the muscles are tired and we depend on fascia system’s tension to support our body. A constant hunched posture is really bad for health, as it triggers excessive stress and often leads to pain. However, it’s also not good to avoid slumping when your muscles are tired. The key to good posture is to stay in a neutral position, at a comfortable height. You’ll notice how you become taller as your full range of motion is restored. Remember that it’s not a rigidly straight posture though.
Myth 4: Posture can only be good or bad.
Fear of “bad” posture leads many people to lock their body in what they think is “good” posture and avoid moving entirely. The problem is not “bad” posture, it’s about being stuck in ONE posture — a position that we can’t easily move out of at will. Instead of thinking of posture as good or bad, it’s more helpful to think of it as efficient or inefficient. Efficient posture gives us the ability to move spontaneously and easily in any direction. Inefficient posture does not.
Good Posture isn’t a fixed single posture, it depends on the task at hand.
That means it’s formed out of the positions required by your body to steadily and effectively work against gravity. As such, most of the gravitational pressure passes through the bones, the muscle and fascia systems around the bones. This actually balances the tension of gravity, and ensures an effortless freedom of movement. In such positions, there is minimal strain placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities.
At Balance Core, professionally trained physiotherapists will help you achieve the ideal postures for all your required tasks in daily life, so that you can do everything with ease and improved performance. It is not difficult to change your posture provided we identify the imbalances and specifically address the root cause.
With an efficient posture, your overall health will definitely be improved.