Posture. We hear about it all the time. Good posture, bad posture… what’s your understanding of posture? Here are a couple of definitions to consider:
From the Cambridge Dictionary:
posture noun (POSITION OF BODY)
The way in which someone usually holds their shoulders, neck, and back, or a particular position in which someone stands, sits, etc.: a position of the body, or the way in which someone holds the body when standing, sitting, or walking:
From the Collins English Dictionary:
posture variable noun
Your posture is the position in which you stand or sit.
People tend to think of posture as a pose that one needs to hold when doing an activity. A classic example of this is sitting at your desk. Once your chair set up for especially for you, that’s it! You don’t move and heaven help anyone if they dare to change your settings!
There is also the consideration of how you get – or put yourself – into this posture. Plus, once there, the belief that you have to hold it. Here-in lies the problem, as we are inherently designed to move, rather than hold a specific position for a length of time.
People often ask: “What is the best posture?”
When considering posture, it’s important to ask:
- What do we tense up to create that posture?
- What do we have to move?
- Are we even aware of what our body is doing?
There is a different way to think about this is. Think about: “What shape am I creating with my body and how does this affect or impact on me?”
For example: What shape am I when working on my laptop or tablet?
Take the time now as you read this to become aware of this. Commonly you will be hunched over, shoulders rounding and rolling forward. Your chest and rib cage will have dropped down. Think about:
- How does this feel?
- How is your breathing?
- Where are you breathing – does your chest move or your stomach?
- How does your stomach feel?
In fact, this hunched, rounded shape constricts our breathing and digestion, reducing the oxygen and nutrients available to the cells in our body.
How we shape our body also affects our moods
Try this now… slowly raise your shoulders just an inch or so. What do you notice? Relax them back down and then slump/hunch. Again, notice how you feel.
Raising your shoulders up to our ears brings about fear, whilst rounded shoulders brings about resignation.
Imagine now how this affects your ability to work, your quality, attention and attitude.
How you move
Finding the right posture for you is about how you move as well as the shape your body creates when you’re still.
Assessing and adjusting your posture can have a big impact upon how you feel, which in turn affects your everyday life. For an assessment and advice about your individual posture, arrange an appointment at our clinic. Our friendly team will look at the shapes your body creates and offer you guidance and advice, including practical lifestyle tips.
This article was written by Karen Robinson, formerly a Registered Osteopath.