The importance of standing up straight

Man standing up straight in the sand

Posture is the foundation of all movements of the body. When your grandparent would scold you for not standing up straight, it turns out they were simply just looking after our wellbeing!

Posture dictates how the body will adapt to gravity, sitting and weight bearing – the basic stresses of everyday life.

If you don’t have good posture, then stress is placed on the body. There is increased wear and tear on the joints. Muscles may be tight and restricted in their movements. Some muscles can even become “turned off” and lung function may become decreased. This in turn will further impact the body’s ability to deal with those basic every day stresses. Poor posture has been linked with tension headaches, back pain, scoliosis, and pain sensitivity.

What does good posture look like?

When we look at the spine from the side, there should be three curves: lumbar, thoracic and cervical.

We should be able to draw a straight line down from the ear hole, through the shoulder, the hip and it should pass just in front of the ankle.

The centre of gravity (the sacrum) should site directly over the base of support (between the ankles).

When there is good posture it allows the body to move as smoothly and as efficiently as possible while putting the least amount of strain on the muscles and ligaments.

More than just standing up straight.

How can you help maintain good posture?

Don’t spend lots of time looking down… Text Neck I am talking to you!

When carrying a back pack ensure it is worn close to the body and on both shoulders.

Ensure your desk/ work station is set up appropriately to support the natural curves of the spine and that you are not constantly reaching for your equipment. Your elbows should be comfortably at your side.

Sleeping on our back or side, with one good pillow.

Exercise and move your body!

When lifting, use a proper technique. Keep the back straight, bend with the knees and keep your load close to your body.

Source:
Australian Spine Research Foundation. “The Posture Series: part 1”, (2018).

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