Posture is the way in which we involve and hold our bodies in the things we do – how we stand, sit, rest or move about. The way we carry ourselves determines how aligned our bodies are, which muscles are involved to which degree and in what combination.
Efficient functioning of the body, better known as good posture, requires a state of balance and tone in the body in both the resting position and in motion, with the maximum freedom combined with stability.
If balance is not maintained, some muscle groups work harder, leading to increased tone and fatigue, while others are continually stretched and have decreased tone. The muscles themselves become painful and extra strain is placed on the joints, ligaments, tendons and neural tissues. Constant strain on these structures may lead to irritation, inflammation and degeneration.
Problems associated with bad posture are headaches, pain in the lower back, shoulder- and upper back pain and a predisposition to injuries of muscles and joints. Maintaining a good balanced posture will make you look better, feel better and prevent injuries, aches and pains.
- Look in the mirror and evaluate your own posture.
- Do regular posture training exercises.
- Keep fit.
Existing problems to muscles, joints and nerves may require physiotherapy treatment like mobilisation, massage, electrotherapy and specific stretching and strengthening programmes.
Consistent practice and awareness can improve posture within a few weeks. Eventually muscles will react automatically and the good posture will become effortless.
Follow these simple steps for postural training:
Remember when you sit:
Remember when you sleep:
Remember when you do lifting:
- (René Geldenhuys, registered physiotherapist)