What is Posture?

Posture is the term used to describe a position of the body or the arrangement of body parts relative to one another.

Posture can be measured either by viewing someone in a standing position or when moving from one position to another. Good posture is performing an activity in the most efficient manner, utilising the least amount of energy. All activities start with a posture and end with a posture. During normal functioning, one’s posture and adjustments should be fluid and automatic.

Think of posture as dynamic and always changing. For perfectly erect static standing, very little muscle activity is needed when joints are balanced on one another correctly.

In order to function optimally, muscles must work to their optimum length to allow for smooth coordinated movement. A muscle that is tight will not allow a joint to move through its full range of motion.

As we move from one posture to another we must learn to do it efficiently to avoid joint injury. It is usually during these transitions from one posture to another that injury occurs which is why examining posture is so important.

Significance of Good Posture

Good posture places you in an alignment where stress is properly distributed to the intended muscles and ligaments. As a result, the muscles are allowed to work efficiently and as intended, which in turn decreases wear and tear that your joints undergo. This decreases your risk of joint discomfort and degenerative arthritis. Stress placed on the ligaments holding the joints in your spine together is also decreased with good posture. When your muscles, joints and ligaments are working as intended, your vital organs are able to remain in proper position and the nervous system is able to function normally.

Risks and Causes of Poor Posture

Poor posture means you’re in a position where your muscles and ligaments are unable to work as they’re intended; there’s an abnormal amount of stress placed on particular muscles. Poor posture can be due to weak core muscles, which prevent you from holding your torso and hips in proper alignment. It can also be caused by tight muscles, a common issue for those who sit long hours throughout the day. Obesity, pregnancy and wearing high-heeled shoes can also lead to improper posture.

Long-term poor posture effects include problems with bodily systems such as digestion and breathing.