Parents and teachers often instruct the children to walk, sit, and stand straight and avoid slouching. It is important to maintain a good posture for benefits including being energetic, confident, and breathing better among many others.
What is Posture?
The position that the human body takes at the time it is sitting, standing, or lying down is called posture. A proper and appropriate posture is when there is an appropriate amount of muscular tension in the body for supporting itself and an appropriate alignment of the body parts. Body posture can be "dynamic" and "static". How the body holds itself during motion is called "dynamic" posture (for instance when the body is stretching, walking, or running). The posture of the body when it is not moving is called a "static" posture. The latter is the posture when the body is sitting, standing, or sleeping still.
Anatomically, a good posture is maintained when the ears of a person are placed and aligned evenly over the shoulders. The shoulders of the person should be backward and in a relaxed position.
The appropriate posture is good for the alignment of the spine as well. It ensures that all the three curves and portions of the human spine (viz. the curves at the lower back, middle back, and neck region) are aligned and maintained naturally.
Maintaining the posture of the body is an unconscious effort so that you do not think about it. Human beings are dependent on their posture and muscles for maintaining posture. The postural muscles are also important in preventing gravity from pushing the body forward.
The muscle groups that can give the human body its posture are called postural muscles. These muscles are needed for maintaining the balance of the human body as it moves or walks. These muscles also act against gravity for maintaining body position. You can avoid straining your muscles when you do your daily and other activities if you are body can maintain a good posture. The postural muscles also ensure that there is no pain during movements, and the ligaments, bones, and muscles do not get strained/damaged.
Why Slouching is Bad?
Slouching is a bad habit as it affects the postural muscles and the body's relaxation adversely. There can be certain medical conditions as well that may cause slouching and bad posture. For instance, if the muscles are tight excessively or fail to make a wider range of motions, the body will fail to maintain its appropriate posture.
The core muscles of the body include the muscles in the abdomen, back, sides, pelvis, and buttocks. If these core muscles of the body are weak, it may cause slouching, as the muscles are responsible for connecting the bottom and the top half portions of the body. Bad posture and slouching may also occur due to the deficits of the modern lifestyle. People may sit at their work desks for any number of hours or may keep looking down at their smartphones for an extended duration. The body may slump forward during these activities. As the posture is not straight, many disadvantages occur to human health.
Benefits of Good Posture
There are many benefits of maintaining a good posture. Bad posture may be caused due to reasons including weak or tight muscles, obesity, stress, and the use of non-supportive shoes among others. It may cause problems with breathing, back pain, and headache, and may also affect the mood adversely. Below are the important benefits of maintaining a good posture.
1. More Energy
Bad posture affects the energy levels of the body adversely and causes fatigue. If you can maintain good body posture, you can be more energetic during the day and have better focus.
2. Better Confidence
A good posture not only provides more energy but can also help in having better self-confidence. You are less likely to have any depressive thoughts if you have a good posture. It not only improves your thinking pattern but also helps you perform better.
3. Better Breathing Pattern
Your body can breathe fully and easily when your shoulders are relaxed and backward. The appropriate posture ensures that the chest is opened, and the lungs can breathe deeply. When you slouch, more tension gets created in the neck and shoulders. It can be a cause of headaches that may affect the back or the forehead.
4. Better Neck and Spine Health
You need to maintain proper posture for the proper development of the spine. If you are slumping or slouching at your desk or on a mobile phone for long hours, it may impact the health of your spine and cause health issues eventually. You can reduce the risk of pain in the neck or the back region of the body by maintaining and practicing the appropriate pasture. Many people across the world miss their workdays due to back pain. If your job requires that you must stand or sit for extended hours, you should ensure that you are maintaining a good posture to avoid cramps and pain.
5. Better Muscle/Joint/Bone Health
You will put less strain on your bones and joints if you can maintain good posture. It will reduce incidences of health conditions such as osteoarthritis and overall pain. Certain core muscular exercises can help prevent issues with bone and muscle health. However, maintaining posture is an easy way to have health benefits.
Tips for Having a Good Posture
You can have a good posture and reap its benefits for health, confidence, and mood by following the tips below.
- Avoid slouching as it may create stress on the spine region of the body.
- Straighten your body and stand or sit tall.
- The right posture is when the ears are over the middle point of the shoulders, the head is held straight, and the chin is tucked in.
- You can ensure a good posture during standing with the shoulders a bit backward, straightened knees, and a tucked-in belly.
- Avoid slumping at your desk by sitting back in the chair all the way. You can also place a lumbar cushion or rolled towel to protect the natural curve of the spine.
- During sitting, the feet should be flat on the surface floor. The knees should be bent at a right angle and should be of the same height (or a bit higher) as the hips.
- Sit upright while driving your car as well and avoid locking the legs.
- Avoid the heels and use them occasionally only. You should prefer chunky and lower heel footwear for daily use.
- While sleeping, avoid saggy and soft mattresses and choose the firmer ones that can provide and hold the natural shape of the spine. The pillow level should not be above that of the spine.
- Exercise regularly for reducing stress and for having strong muscles that can support the spine.
The importance of good posture is immense. You can lead a more confident, energetic, and successful life by maintaining appropriate body posture and also avoiding many health conditions. Practice the tips given above for maintaining good posture during your daily life.