When was the last time someone reminded you to fix your posture?

"Sit up straight! Don't slouch!"

young man in couch saying

You might not think it's a big deal but the truth is your posture is key to maintaining good health.

What Is Posture?

Posture is how you hold your body upright while standing, sitting, or lying down.

The spine has natural curves that form an S-shape. The curves work like a coiled spring to:

  • absorb shock

  • maintain balance

  • facilitate the full range of motion through your spinal column

In order for you to have good posture, you must have:

  • Good flexibility in your muscles

  • Normal range of motion in your joints

  • Strong "core" muscles in your abs, back, and hips

  • A balance of muscles on both sides of the spine

  • Awareness of your own posture

    Image showing correct and incorrect human postures

What Influences Posture?

The musculoskeletal system influences your posture. This includes your bones, muscles, joints, and other tissues that connect the parts of your body together. It provides form, support, stability, and movement to your body.

Factors that can affect your posture:

  • age

  • weight

  • daily habits & activities

  • choice of footwear

  • profession

  • hobbies

  • injuries

musculoskeletal system GIF

Good posture can prevent injury and certain health problems. Poor posture can lead to long-term health issues like:

  • Lower back pain

  • Neck pain

  • Stiffness in your shoulders

  • Headaches

  • Arthritis

  • Muscle strain or weakness

  • Heartburn

  • Spinal curvature

  • Nerve and blood vessel constrictions

  • Constipation

  • Loss of bladder control

Profile portrait of man at laptop, stretching, backache position

Quiz

Sarah is experiencing back pain because she has to stand all day on the job. Otherwise, she's perfectly healthy. What could she do to improve this?

Ask her doctor to have a look

Ask her boss if she can move to a desk

Wear more comfortable shoes

Do stretches on her work breaks

Check Your Posture

How aware are you of your own posture? This video demonstrates how to check if your posture is properly aligned.

Improve Your Posture

An animation of a person slouching in front of a computer. A giant finger pushes up their posture.

With practice, the correct posture for standing, sitting, and lying down will gradually replace your old posture if you:

  • Build strong abdominal and back muscles and work on your flexibility so your body can support good posture

  • Be aware of repetitive postures and holding positions for a long time, and remember to stretch and take frequent breaks

  • Take part in body awareness and mindfulness activities like yoga, tai chi, and pilates

  • Work with your health care providers to identify physical activities that will help you maintain your posture, health, and mobility

Take Action

It’s never too early or late in life to work on improving your posture and how you move.

Posture dos and donts

Take active steps to improve your posture today!

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This Byte has been authored by

CK

Chitra Krishnan

Lifelong Learner