Posture has long been linked with a host of negativity… a lousy shaped body, musculoskeletal pain, and even poor sporting performance.
But what’s the evidence to back this up?
Over recent years, research has lifted the lid on posture and found that much of what we’ve all previously believed just isn’t true!
The research by a leading team of experts is summarised in the below 7 points.
Military. Kypho-Lordotic. Flat Back & Swayback… or just you, a human?
7 Surprising Facts about Posture
There is NO single ‘correct’ posture
Despite common posture beliefs, there is no strong evidence that one posture exists or that avoiding ‘incorrect’ postures will prevent back pain
Differences in posture are a fact of life
There are natural variations in spinal curvatures and there is no single spinal curvature strongly associated with pain. Pain shouldn’t be attributed to relatively normal variations
Posture reflects beliefs and mood
Posture can offer insights into a person’s emotions, thoughts and body image. Some postures are adopted as a protective strategy and may reflect concerns regarding body vulnerability. Understanding the reasons behind preferred postures may be useful.
It is safe to adopt more comfortable postures
Comfortable postures may vary between individuals. Exploring different postures, including those frequently avoided, and changing habitual postures may provide symptomatic relief.
The spine is robust and can be trusted
The Spine is a robust, adaptable structure, capable of safely moving and loading in a variety of postures. Common warnings to protect the spine are not evidence informed and can lead to fear.
Sitting is not dangerous
Sitting down for more than 30 minutes is NOT dangerous. However, moving and changing position can be helpful and being physically active is important for your health.
One size does not fit all
Postural and movement screening does not prevent pain in the workplace. Preferred lifting styles are influenced by the natural varying spinal curvatures and advice to adopt a certain posture or brace the abdominals is not evidence based.
Surprising Facts About Posture… ‘Sit Up Straight’: Time to Re-evaluate
Empowered Beyond Pain Podcast Episode #16a
Empowered Beyond Pain Podcast Episode #16b
“Sit Up Straight”: Time to Re-evaluate
Strength Training & Posture
Strength training has many benefits from improved balance, heart health, cardiovascular function, bone health and cognitive function.
Among the lesser mentioned benefits are its ability to improve posture.
While the above evidence says there is no ‘bad’ posture, we always want to work towards a more upright, aligned body position.
Typically, poor posture presents with an exaggerated curvature of the spine that can lead to a more limited range of movement in some joints.
This reduced available movement will prevail in reduced balance, strength, and ability to perform everyday tasks.
By working through a full range of movement, we develop and maintain our joints and musculatures full range of movement.
With our newfound range of movement we can progressively work on our strength using our body weight and when needed, external resistance to further develop our muscle strength.
This improved strength will help us maintain our increased range of movement and prevent us from reverting to our old posture.
3 Tips to Improve Your Posture
- Develop a Movement Practice
First, just make a start. This could be a daily 5 minutes of moving your joints through a range of movement, to yoga or a daily walk.
- Consider your Emotional Wellbeing.
Look not only at your physical health but also your mental health. Can you take the weight off your shoulders via reducing stress or increasing joy in your life?
- Strength Training
Strength training can not only increase your mobility but also strengthen your body, giving it more resilience, holding in an improved position, and guarding against progressing into poor posture. Try starting with some simple daily exercises which you can do at home such as press ups to a work surface or sit to stands to a chair.