At one point or another in each and every one of our lives, we are all bound to have heard the admonishment “sit up straight!” Whether that’s from a parent, a teacher or a boss, the complaint is usually followed by an immediate straightening of the back, often begrudgingly. However, what we might not have known was that the ‘telling off’ was actually doing us a favour! Good posture is very important, so by making sure that we don’t slouch, we are unconsciously improving our health. Here’s a quick run-down of what good posture is and why we should all aspire to have it.
What Is Good Posture?
To put it as simply as possible, posture as a term refers to the alignment of position of the human body in regards to the overbearing mistress that goes by the name of gravity. It doesn’t matter whether we are lying down, sitting, or standing up straight – gravity is always going to exert a force on our muscles and joints.
Good posture involves being in such a position that each part of the body takes its fair share of the pressure forced upon us by gravity. The object of this is to avoid doing damage to certain joints and muscles by ensuring that no one part takes more weight than it should.
By making sure we stick to having good posture, we are acting like the architects of our own body; ensuring that no load-bearing structure takes too much stress, and allowing the weight to be distributed evenly.
Posture When Sitting Down
Sadly for those of us who work in the office, it is the seated posture which most of us mess up on – even more so when behind the wheel of a car or glued to a keyboard and monitor! Because we have something right in front of our faces to focus on, we forget about our posture and bow our heads towards the focal point.
This seemingly innocuous action can have a surprisingly large effect on the body as a whole. The spine will bend as the head does, stretching the ligaments slowly, which will lead to muscle fatigue and then neck and back pain.
Lumbar supports are crucial to avoiding this damage; you should look into ergonomic furniture, if you want to get the best posture. Anything from Humanscale tends to be the best kind of chair for reducing back pain, but if that’s out of your price range you can try sitting upright in a straight-backed chair, with a cushion in the small of your back.
Sitting with the proper posture will allow you to keep working efficiently without putting undue strain on your back or neck. If you continue to have poor posture, you will eventually go on to do permanent damage to your spine – it’s better to make a small correction now than to pay the price later in life.