This is the next in my series on each aspect of the What do you need to do to be fit? post.
I am going to split the posture post into three parts as there is a lot to say. This post will focus on why it is important and what good posture looks like, the next will look at some resources I use to help improve my own posture and the final post will be about exercises that can help improve posture.So why is posture important? It has a massive influence on overall fitness and wellness. Poor posture will likely stop you being able to perform certain exercises and movements properly which may lead to injury. As we age poor posture becomes amplified as the muscles become weaker, the elderly person that is bent over their walking frame probably started with a fairly minor slouch. I believe proper posture can fundamentally improve a persons well being and longevity. What does good look like? The four main points that make up good standing posture are:
- Neck extends directly up from torso
- Shoulders (and scapula) are held back and down
- Gentle S curve to spine
- Knees and hips softly locked
Result – when standing bones (structure) are aligned so weight is comfortably supported by skeleton.Common postural issues
The most common changes to the four points above are:
- Neck and head jut forward
- Shoulders slump forward
- One or both of spine’s curves are exaggerated
- Knees/hips unlocked when standing
Result – skeleton misaligned so weight supported inefficiently or held by musclesThese issues are linked so rarely appear on their own e.g. an exaggerated curve of the upper back may be joined by slumping shoulders and a forward head position. These issues will likely cause pain over time. Fortunately they are not permanent can be rectified. There are many possible strategies. In my next post I will talk about a few books that I have found especially useful.