Good posture: how to achieve and maintain it over time

morning stretches that can reduce back pain
You’ve heard that good posture is important to maintaining good health and you can probably recognize someone with bad posture when you see them. Bad posture forms as a result of continuous bad habits over a long period of time (usually years). This is evident in many adults. Good posture, just like bad posture, is formed over years of proper postural training and can be achieved by anyone with a little motivation. In this quick guide, we are going to go over posture, what it is, how it comes about, and how you can train (or re-train) yourself to have good posture.

What is posture?

Simply defined, posture is the position that we hold ourselves in while standing, sitting, and/or lying down. When you have good posture, it means that your body is correctly aligned and supported by the right amount of muscle fighting against gravity. Without posture and the muscles controlling it, we would simply not be able to stand!

We do not have to consciously maintain our posture. Our muscles do it for us without us having to think about it. The muscles involved in posture include hamstrings and large muscles of the back, as well as many other muscle groups. These systems of the body are crucial to maintaining good posture. These “postural” muscles prevent the forces of gravity from pushing us over leaning forward. These muscles are also responsible for the maintenance of our posture and balance while we are moving.

Why is good posture important?

Having good posture helps us to go about our day with the least amount of strain on our muscles and ligaments during movement and other weight-bearing activities. It also signals health to other people subconsciously.

Correct posture:

  • Helps to keep bones and joints aligned properly so muscles are used correctly. This will lessen the abnormal wear and tear of joints that results in pain and arthritis later on in life.
  • Stress on ligaments that hold the spinal joints together is reduced, minimizing the risk of injury.
  • Prevents muscle fatigue by allowing muscles to work as efficiently as possible, expending as little energy as possible when doing physical activities.
  • Prevents muscle strain, overuse, and pain.

In order to maintain good posture, you need muscle flexibility, strength, normal doing motion in the spine and other areas, and efficient postural muscles that are balanced evenly on both sides of the body. You need to stay aware of your postural habits at home and work so that you can make corrections as necessary to start building those muscles.

What can bad posture do to the body?

Having bad posture can lead to strain on the postural muscles and can cause them to relax when held in certain positions for long periods of time.

There are many factors that lead to bad posture. Stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak muscles, unusually tight muscles, and high-heels are all contributing factors. In addition to that, lifestyle factors like a poor work environment, bad computer setup, incorrect walking posture, and unhealthy levels of sitting (sedentary lifestyle) can all contribute to bad posture over time.

Can I correct my posture?

Yes, it is possible to correct bad posture, but it’s important to note that long-standing problems are going to take a long time and much dedication to correct. The joints often adapt to your poor posture over a long period of time. It’s not easy and you need to have good posture in mind and consciously correct yourself. With practice, the correct posture will gradually replace your old, less-optimal posture, helping you move toward and better and healthier body.

When you see a chiropractor, they can assist you with proper posture, including a recommendation of exercises that will strengthen your door postural muscles. We can assist you with choosing proper postures during your activities to help you reduce the risk of injury and chronic back pain.

How do I sit properly?

  • Keep your feet touching the floor while sitting. If they do not reach the floor, try using some kind of footrest.
  • Crossing your legs is a no-no. Your ankles should be directly below your knees.
  • Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat, helping the muscles to work in order to maintain comfortable sitting.
  • Adjust your seat to support your lower back and lumbar spine.
  • Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground.
  • Try to avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time as much as you can. Get out and go for a quick walk to help you reset.

How do I stand properly?

  • Your weight should be distributed mainly to the balls of your feet.
  • Keep knees slightly bent
  • Stand with your feet approx. shoulder length apart.
  • Let your arms naturally hang down at the sides of your body.
  • Stand up straight and tall with your shoulders pulled back.
  • Tuck your stomach in.
  • Keep your head level. Earlobes should be in line with your shoulders.
  • When standing for long periods of time, you can roll from your toes to your heels to take some weight off of the part that is getting tired.

What is the proper lying position?

  • Make sure you have a mattress that works well for you. A firm mattress is generally recommended, but some people find that soft mattresses help with their back pain. Your individual feeling of comfort is important.
  • Use a good pillow. There are pillows made to help with postural problems that result from a poor sleeping position.;
  • Try not to sleep on your stomach.
  • Sleep on your side or back if you are experiencing any pain, as it is often helpful. If you sleep on your side, you can place a pillow between your legs. If you sleep on your back, it can go under your knees.

Summary

Good posture over time helps to create a healthy appearance as well as a healthy feeling as you get older. Poor posture, on the other hand, can lead to uneven muscle strength, lack of flexibility, and pain. You can correct your posture over time, but you need to be dedicated. It is not easy to re-write years of bad posture and it doesn’t happen overnight. Think of It the same way you would of a diet to lose weight. it required dedication and perseverance over time to see results.

If you have additional questions or would like to set up an appointment with the Doctors of Kirkman Chiropractic, call us at 407-291-1000.  We would be happy to help you correct your posture and experience less pain.

Chiropractor, Orlando FL

Kirkman Chiropractic is located just south of Colonial Drive on the corner of Kirkman Road and Washington Street.

Kirkman Chiropractic | Chiropractor Orlando | (407) 291-1000

Serving Central Florida, Southwest Orlando, Metro West,
Windemere, Ocoee, Winter Garden, and Pine Hills.