Good posture is an easy and very important way to help towards a healthy body and mind. When you have good posture your body is in full alignment with itself and this can help with common problems such as bad backs and neck, headaches and fatigue. Normally, we do not consciously maintain good posture. Instead, certain muscles do it for us, and we don't even have to think about it. Several muscle groups, including the hamstrings and large back muscles, are really important in maintaining good posture. While the ligaments help to hold the skeleton together, these postural muscles, when functioning properly, prevent the forces of gravity from pushing us over forwards. Postural muscles also maintain our posture and balance during movement.
The spine has two natural curves that you need to maintain called the 'double C' or 'S' curves. These curves of the back are also called lordotic and kyphotic. A lordotic curve is a curve in the lumbar spine, and when there is an increased angle this is called lordosis of the lumbar spine. A kyphotic curve is found in the thoracic spine, but when this curve exceeds 50 degrees it is called kyphosis of the thoracic spine. These are the curves found from the base of your head to your shoulders and the curve from the upper back to the base of the spine. When standing straight up, make sure that your weight is evenly distributed on your feet.
Poor posture can lead to excessive strain on our postural muscles and may even cause them to relax, when held in certain positions for long periods of time. For example, you can generally see this in people who bend forward at the waist for a prolonged time in the workplace. Their postural muscles are more prone to injury and back pain.
Several factors contribute to poor posture-most commonly, stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles, and high-heeled shoes. In addition, decreased flexibility, a poor work environment, incorrect working posture, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits can also contribute to poor body positioning.
If you are unsure if you have good or bad posture or you just don’t know what you are looking for, your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should make one straight line. Relax your shoulders and bend your knees slightly— you don't want to look like a soldier on guard. If you're standing for a long period of time, make sure you try to shift your weight every so often and if you're bending down to pick up something, bend your knees and hips; don't bend down and grab the object with just your waist!!!