We all know how important posture is. We have all been told to sit up straight. We do so for a few moments while we consciously think about our posture, but the moment another thought arises, we immediately go back to our habitual postural alignment. In your mind’s eye, imagine your favorite superhero, your idol in life, or your ideal version of yourself. What posture is that person assuming? Are their back and head flexed downward with rolled-forward shoulders, or are they standing tall with shoulders rolled back? We usually do not think about posture until our postural habits cause pain, but the pain is always the last symptom to arise and the first to dissipate.
Your poor posture is not only causing chronic joint pain due to extra stress on muscles and ligaments that were not designed to maintain an upright posture but also causation behind low body image, low social interaction, fatigue, digestive issues, decreased physical performance, poor mental health.¹
Posture in the sagittal plane is an adaptation from early childhood development. An infant begins with a single c-shape curve. The development of curves is a crucial process in brain and motor development. The first curve developed is the cervical curve when a baby starts holding its head upright, and then once the baby begins crawling the lumbar curve develops. These 3 curves help to support the body in an upright position against the forces of gravity.
Our postural system was designed for standing, lifting, squatting, walking, running, twisting, bending, and all other types of movement. This system was not designed for sedentary modern lifestyle, and our postures are paying the price. The loss of postural control has been found to be correlated to childhood and adult ADHD symptoms which are not conducive to academic or professional success. This has led many businesses adopting Postural Ergonomics in the workplace to increase productivity.
The forces of gravity that our postural system was designed to act upon are constant, and time will only further degrade this system leading to not only poor cognition, but also injuries and falls in the elderly. Hope is not lost no matter your age. It’s never too late or too early to begin improving your posture, but you must begin in order to wreak the benefits of optimizing the postural system.
3 Steps to Improving Posture:
- Schedule an exam with a Max Living chiropractor. Max Living doctors are trained extensively in correcting postural abnormalities through physical exams and X-ray analysis. This allows the doctors to create a customized postural rehab program based upon the unique individual. There is not a one size fits all program in correcting posture despite the programs that can be found online. If you begin strengthening muscles that are not weak or stretching muscles that are not tight you may cause further damage to the postural system. This will not happen in a Max Living office.
- Take frequent breaks from sitting. Our postural system was not developed to be stuck in one posture for long periods, especially if that posture is sitting in a chair. We do our part to get back to our biological design by taking breaks from sitting and moving. Set an alarm to get you up out of your seat every 20 minutes and perform 30 seconds of any type of movement. My favorite is either 5 burpees or 25 air squats. You may not be able to do this every 20 minutes due to demand at work, but try to get up as often as possible.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. The forces of gravity are decreased while we are in a lying position. This allows for the recovery of over worked muscles, tendons, and ligaments associated with posture. Sleep also helps decrease emotional stress which is one of the causations behind poor posture.