Firstly, sustaining a good posture is one of the most important aspects of your health.
It ensures that your bones are aligned with the rest of your body. If your bones are aligned it places less tension in your muscles and ligaments. It also keeps your organs in the right position to be able to fully function.
Our posture impacts way more than we think. Good posture can not only give you more confidence but can also help by reducing pain and preventing injury.
So what does good posture actually mean?
Having a neutral spine is the most important part of a good posture. Having a neutral spine means - a straight line from the top back part of your head right down to your pubic.
The muscles surrounding the spine will then be balanced and be able to support your whole body.
Kara Griffith, exercise physiologist at Colorado Canyons Hospital & Medical Center has given you a quick test you can do anywhere to determine the level of your body posture:
>> ”When sitting, your feet should rest flat on the floor, with even weight on both hips. Your back should be mostly straight (you’ll have a natural curves in your lumbar, thoracic, and cervical areas). Your shoulders should be back but relaxed and your ears should line up over your collarbones."
>> "When standing, your legs should have a slight knee bend so you're not hyper-extending or locking your knee joints.”
Just to clarify the following terms for you to understand better:
Lumbar spine commonly known as your lower back and consist of 5 vertebrae;
Thoracic spine continue directly below the cervical spine, roughly from shoulder level and continue downward until it reaches your lumber spine;
Cervical spine is your neck region stretches from your skull downwards until it reaches you thoracic spine and it consists of 7 vertebrae.
Now let’s get to the point. Why is this so important when exercising?
When your bones and joints are in the correct posture, your muscles can be used to it’s full potential. It decreases the amount of stress you put on your joints and the ligaments which hold your joints together. It helps you develop strength, flexibility and balance.
Here are a few benefits from practicing good posture.
Reduce back pain;
Releases tension in your shoulders and neck;
Reduce wear and tearing of the ligaments and tendons surrounding the joints;
Improve circulation and digestion;
Better lung capacity;
Increases effectiveness of your workouts;
Helps with self-confidence as you appear taller;
Let’s take a deeper look into these benefits mentioned above:
Having correct posture while exercising reduces back pain, as you use the correct muscle groups to perform a certain movement, instead of overusing your back muscles.
Take a squat for instance. If you keep your spine in a straight line, while contracting your core muscles. You will use your leg muscles to perform the exercise, as a squat is mostly there to tone and strengthen your legs, while protecting your back muscles from being overused and preventing injury.
When you overuse a certain muscle or muscle group, from having incorrect posture, it causes an imbalance in your body. Meaning another muscle or muscle group gets overused to compensate for your bad posture. Which is a sure sign of an injury waiting to happen.
Your joints are made to move in a certain way. When you are performing an exercise with incorrect posture, you are putting a lot more pressure or tension on your joints. This may lead to the ligaments and tendons surrounding your joints to wear and tear.
Your ligaments & tendons are affected by your posture, take note:
Your ligaments help with stability. They connect bone to bone. So by wearing and tearing these ligaments it causes bone to bone friction, which, if not treated will lead to having a joint replacement.
Tendons connect muscle to bone. It also helps with absorbing shock. Wearing and tearing will cause the tendon to get injured or worse case, snap off. Which is something you would want to avoid at all cost.
Your body has to use a lot more energy when you exercise with an incorrect posture, as it takes more out of your body to function or try to function with an incorrect posture. Thus correcting your posture will also improve your energy resources needed to perform better.
Maintaining a good posture is vital to your overall health!
As more and more people are turning towards a healthier lifestyle, a critical area of a healthy lifestyle is being ignored, which is proper posture. Not only is it important to practice proper posture while exercising, it should be a conscious mindset to practice proper posture during your daily lives, whether you are sitting watching TV, playing with your kids or even doing the dishes!