Make a Good Impression – Improve your Posture

We all know we could do with better posture – but do you know what you should be doing to try and improve it?

 

First off – what actually is good posture? we can all tell when someone looks elegant and commands attention when they walk into the room – they walk tall, appear to have an air of authority and they look fabulous!

But what is actually going on – why do they look great – what are they doing that’s different to Joe Blogg average who has “poor posture” – well when you look at them they sit  slumped in a chair and stand with shoulders hunched over and look more like a crumpled heap?

In the olden days it was called deportment – there were even deportment classes! I now when I was at school the teachers would make you stand up in line one direct behind the other, shoulders back, head tall and boy were you in trouble if you moved! Desks were not for slumping on – you had to sit back and upright in your chair and elbows were NOT for resting on the table – at home we always ate at the table and again NO ELBOWS!

Somewhere along the line things have gone crazy – kids fidget and move, they sit slouched absolutely everywhere – I have no idea how but they seem to be able to sit on their sacrum – not their sit bones! Hamstrings are incredibly tight, and its OK to eat on the floor, have TV dinners, sit poorly at the desk and work with your computer on your lap – absolutely everything we do these days WORKS AGAINST GOOD POSTURE. The advent of technology with laptops, tabs mobiles ( remember the phone used to be on the wall so you had to walk and then stand to answer it!) means we are less active and more sedentary than ever and posture has definitely suffered!

SO lets start with the ideal – here’s a row  of poor posture and also a “good” one at the right. Most of us are familiar with posture terminology but generally are poor at “diagnosing” ourselves = so to accurately know which one you are you need to consult a qualified health professional.

Check you own posture – take a picture side on like the ones above – draw a vertical line through it to be your “plumbline”. It should start from your feet – go through your ankle bones/ mid knee/mid hip/mid shoulder joint and through your ear lobes as the ideal. What do  you need to address.?

In essence poor posture will lead to abnormal stresses and strains going through the body and then places joint stress and muscle imbalances which then lead onto pain. In the first instance these changes are what we call “dysfunctional” meaning we can change them by altering how you move, but longer term they can lead to damage and long term pain.

People with sway back will “load” their lower back which causes compression – where you are basically squashing the lower vertebrae together at back edges – imagines just bending your fingers back all day – they will hurt! – why do it to your spine?

People with forward head posture will end up with upper back, neck and shoulder pain as the neck and shoulder muscles work harder to keep the head up right = causing pain due to increased work load. Also that posture will lead to shoulder issues as these postural types are prone to impingement issues due to poor mechanics – basically the shoulder then sits forward due to slouching and short pecs so when you lift your arm up it ‘hits the roof of the shoulder joint” giving pain. Common diagnosis are shoulder impingement, shoulder tendonitis, rotator cuff issues and shoulder bursitis – all which unless caused by direct trauma are linked to poor posture.

So remember – if you have good posture – not only are you looking good, looking confident and walking tall, physiology wise you are loading your body in the optimum way – not placing too much stress and strain on any one area so your joints and muscles function evenly and well. Walk tall and enjoy free movement and the “light ” feeling of your body! Look out for our 10 tips to improve your posture 🙂

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About Saree Hewlett (129 Articles)
Saree has 20 + years as a physio, training in the UK and completing her Masters in Manual Therapy in Perth, UWA. She has integrated Pilates into her practise having trained in the Polestar method and currently owns and runs two Studios in Perth's Northern Suburbs. A previous international Artistic Skater she understands the needs of sports people and also those suffering from chronic pain and reduced function - we all want the same thing - to be the best we can be! She is married with two active young boys!

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