It should come as no surprise that poor posture can and usually does affect one’s overall quality of life in a negative way. With this in mind, it’s important for us as exercise professionals to educate our current and prospective clients on the value of good posture and how they can begin to incorporate this concept into their lives daily.
Britnell et al. (2005) do an excellent job defining posture “as a state of skeletal and muscular balance and alignment that protects the supporting structures of the body from progressive deformity and injury.” Thus, a person with good posture would be someone whose body unconsciously balances out the rotational and vertical forces placed upon it while standing erect and at the same time uses the least amount of energy necessary to do so.
Poor posture, however, is defined by Britnell et al. (2005) as “an imperfect relationship among the various skeletal structures of the body“[which] may produce strain on the body’s supporting framework.” Poor posture can decrease one’s overall quality of life in a number of ways regardless of the individual’s level of fitness. While it can often cause sensations of pain in general and/or sedentary populations, it can also limit one’s athletic potential. If the musculoskeletal structures (i.e. bones, muscles, ligaments, and other connective tissues) of the body are misaligned or unbalanced it becomes impossible to perform movements as effectively and efficiently as one should.
So how does one combat the looming threat of poor posture? That’s an excellent question that doesn’t have just one correct answer. A good starting point is to simply become more aware of your body’s posture while standing or sitting. If standing, focus on trying to keep your feet pointed straight while you walk in addition to keeping your shoulders slightly pulled back to help you avoid slouching forward. Think about trying to create distance between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips, but not to the point where you feel your lower back hyperextending.
The most ideal posture is one where your body can maintain the spine’s three natural curvatures (lumbar, thoracic, and cervical), your head is pointed straight without any tilt, and your hip, knee, and ankle joints all remain neutral (i.e. they aren’t overly flexed or extended).
Join KinetiCore Fitness in taking a stand (correctly) against poor posture. Your body will thank you!
Foweler, K, & Kravitz, PhD, L. (2011). The perils of poor posture. IDEA Fitness Journal, 2011 (April), 45-51.