Why is posture so important? What is good posture?
Posture is all about the position of the body in space. It can apply to different positions including standing, seated, even lying down. Proper posture means that joints are aligned in a way that provides optimal functioning. Improper posture creates additional stress on the structures of the body and can cause ineffective movement, injury, and even headaches. Posture can affect how we look and feel about our body.
You can use a wall as a guide to find correct standing posture.
- stand with your back to a wall, heels placed 2-4 inches away from the wall
- feet pointed straight ahead or slightly out
- butt, mid to upper back, and back of the head should all be touching the wall simultaneously, there should be a natural “S” curve of the spine
- top of the head should be level while back of the head touches the wall (don’t tip the chin up)
- there should be a small space between your lower back and the wall
- shoulders should be relaxed, not hunched up
- shoulder blades should be almost flat against the wall, arms hanging at sides
- hips neutral, not tucked under or tilted back
Figure above shows correct alignment of human body in standing posture. Line drawn straight through ears, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles. Other figure shows forward head posture with rounded spine and hips tucked under and forward.
This standing posture description is static, which means we are holding still. If we begin movement, we want to try to maintain many aspects of an engaged static posture. We don’t want our shoulders hiked up or rolling forward. We want to soften the knees and hips, meaning they are ready to move or adjust for balance.