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Why is posture so important?

Whether it’s being told to sit up straight or stop slouching, there’s many reasons why we were told to keep an eye on our posture growing up. However, as adults, we sometimes form bad habits and forget the importance of good posture.

Whether it’s physical or mental health, posture plays an important role in our overall health and has a variety of benefits.

Poor posture

Posture refers to the position of your body when you are standing or sitting and, more specifically, how your spine is aligned with your head, shoulders, and hips.

Poor posture occurs when the spine is not positioned in a neutral alignment. This could mean the curves in the spine are more emphasised than they should be. For example, by hunching over with your head forward. A common cause of this is ‘tech neck’, which results from us hunching over cell phones or computers.

Poor posture results in the joints, muscles and vertebrae being in stressful positions and, over a prolonged period, can have several negative impacts on your body.

Good posture

The back has three natural curves: at the neck, mid back, and lower back. Good posture maintains these curves by ensuring your head is above your shoulders and the top of the shoulders is over the hips.

It can sometimes feel uncomfortable or awkward to adjust your posture because bad posture doesn’t always cause pain or discomfort.

Here is a quick reminder for how to maintain posture when sitting or standing:

  • Sitting: the feet should rest flat on the floor, with even weight on both hips and your back should be mostly straight. The shoulders should be back and relaxed, whilst the ears line up over the collarbones.
  • Standing: the legs should have a slight bend in the knee so they are not hyperextended or locked, and weight should be evenly distributed. The shoulders should be down, and the spine and pelvis remains in a neutral position.

Physical benefits of good posture

There are many physical benefits associated with good posture, some of which are listed below.

  • Reduced back pain

Standing or sitting with poor posture for prolonged periods of time places additional stress on your lower back, which can be a common cause of back pain.

  • Less tension in the neck and shoulders

Particularly for ‘tech neck’ where the head is in a forward position, there can be additional strain on the upper back, shoulders, and neck. Good posture ensures the joints and ligaments are less stressed.

  • Fewer headaches

Poor posture can be the reason for tension headaches because it increases muscle tension in the back of the neck.

  • Lung capacity

Slouching compresses the lungs, so correcting your posture enables more space for your lungs to expand.

  • Improved strength

Maintaining good posture means using your muscles and keeping them engaged, particularly the muscles in your core and upper back.

Mental benefits of good posture

  • Increased energy levels

Good posture encourages the muscles to be used as they’re intended, rather than wasting energy. This means you will feel less fatigued.

  • Increased confidence

Together with increased energy levels, good posture can make you look taller and more toned, which can boost your self-confidence.