With our modern-day lifestyles of working at desks, whether in the office or at home, there are more and more cases of people developing chronic pain and having to take time off from work. Often the root cause of these injuries is poor posture, and indeed most of the people I work with want to improve their posture because they either want to get pain free, feel more confident about their appearance, or reduce their risk of future pain and injuries – or sometimes all three!
The biggest mistake I see people make when trying to improve their posture is believing that they have to learn how to sit, stand and walk correctly. They think it’s all about consciously trying to force their body into a better position. They’re often surprised when I tell them that this is absolutely not what having good posture is about. How many times have you tried to sit or stand up straight and then a few moments later you get distracted and end up back in your normal position? Furthermore, for many people trying to sit or stand up straighter can feel quite uncomfortable and painful because their bodies are not ready to hold them in this position.
What affects your alignment?
Your muscles keep your body in alignment and need a variety of work to stay functional, balanced and healthy. Our modern-day lifestyles rarely allow the diversity and frequency of movement that maintains this balance. Even from a young age, we spend so much time sitting at a desk at school, and many of us have desk jobs. All of this combined with injuries and other stressors can lead to misalignments in your posture.
What are the effects of misalignments?
You might feel unhappy with how you look or feel pain and stiffness. Certain muscles might be compensating making them more prone to injury. Joints might function less efficiently leading to wear and tear, impingement and pain. Often, the ‘unexplained’ source of many health conditions is that your body is out of alignment.
What’s the solution?
Your posture is affected by the balance and function of your muscles – if they’re working well then your body is likely to be in good alignment. So a much better approach is to improve the balance of these muscles from left to right, and from front to back, by doing some simple posture correction exercises each day, which can be done at home or at the office. These exercises stretch and strengthen certain parts of your body and over time improve your posture without you even having to think about it! This should help reduce your pain if you have any, help you feel more confident about how you look, and reduce your risk of developing future pain and injuries.