Good Posture – A Sign of Good Health
A woman walks into a cocktail party wearing a backless dress, her head is held high, her shoulders are pulled back yet relaxed and her spine is strait with her eyes beaming across the room with a steady, graceful stride as she walks. We don’t know anything more about her based on this story, but her posture alone describes a beautiful, elegant, healthy woman, no?
What does your posture say about you? How do you sit when you are seated at your desk, at the dinner table, or sitting in front of the TV watching a movie with your family and friends? How is your posture when you walk through your office, while you’re running errands or even when you’re exercising? How do you look when you stand in front of your loved ones and your children, your colleagues and bosses—how do you present yourself to the world? Your posture says a lot about you. It speaks of your self-confidence and your attitude, it is a show of respect and a good example to youth and perhaps most importantly, good posture demonstrates good health and promotes health, vitality, energy and strength.
Your bones, muscles and even your organs all function better when they are aligned properly. Your range of motion through your joints and correct spinal alignment is reinforced and your muscles are engaged to hold your body properly in an upright position, preventing injury and pain, fatigue and to ensure the maintenance of strength. Your organs function more easily, particularly your circulatory and respiratory systems—your blood can flow more easily and you are able to breath deeper and utilize oxygen better. Yet, good posture is rarely talked about—parents often don’t mention posture with their children, and most doctors tend not to bring it up. You’ll likely find the most mention of posture if you happen to use a physical therapist, chiropractor or orthopedist, after something has already gone wrong.
The good news is that there are actions that you can take now to improve your posture today to prevent some injuries, pain and other health problems from taking place in the future and also to help serve as a good example to those around you, particularly children. There are correct postures for sitting, standing and even lying down that will help reinforce good health and improve your appearance.
- Sitting: Healthy sitting posture means having a straight back, buttocks against the back of a chair, knees bent at a straight angle with your feet flat on the floor. Your shoulders are held back comfortably and relaxed with your head resting high on top of your neck and your chin is straight, relaxing at a right angle.
- Standing: Healthy standing posture means standing with your weight equally balanced on both feet, spine aligned straight up and down versus curved left or right, shoulders held back comfortably and relaxed with your head resting high on top of your neck and your chin is straight, relaxing at a right angle, buttocks tucked in, abdomen muscles engaged and pulled in gently (not sucked in).
- Lying: Healthiest sleeping postures include sleeping on your back with a pillow tucked under your knees or on your side with your knees slightly bent (not curled up into a fetal position). The point is to support the natural curve in your back to prevent back strain while you sleep. However, certain back conditions may require altered sleep positions to support good back health, so do seek the advice of your chiropractor or physician if you are suffering with back pain or injuries.
There are several types or orthopedic supports if you are dealing with particular issues with posture and back pain, particularly diagnoses involving back or neck injuries and trauma, scoliosis, arthritis, etc. Back braces, shoe inserts along with some pillow and mattress selections can help based on your particular condition. Certain natural supplements may help with joint lubrication and bone and muscle strengthening such as glucosamine and condroitin, calcium and vitamin D, and tumeric and boswellia. If you are experiencing severe and persistent muscular, joint or bone pain or cannot seem to correct your posture on your own, do seek a diagnosis and treatment from a physician or chiropractor as a more serious problem may exist.