Posture can be static or dynamic. Dynamic posture means that there is a change in the body position such as when you walk, jog, run or jump. Static posture occurs when you sit, lie or stand in one place. In today’s modern life static posture occurs a lot. Think of all the people who work at their computers the whole day, and of all the school children who sit at their desks for many hours per day.
Our physiques differ. Good posture occurs when there is a balance between the work load of the different skeletal muscles, the limbs and the joints. Problems occur when some of the muscles or joints get overloaded, such as when we carry a heavy weight in the one hand only. Signs of overloading are muscular and joint pains. Our posture is the result of the communication between the brain and the muscles and limbs. A good posture is maintained when the natural curves of the spinal column are maintained. We have to guard against sitting or walking with rounded shoulders. With good posture there is a balance between the left and right as well as the front and rear skeletal muscles. With a perfect balance between the muscles, there will be no overloading of muscles or joints. Regular exercise increases the brain’s communication with skeletal muscles, joints and limbs, leading to a good body posture.
With bad posture, this balance or communication is disturbed. Some muscles will be overworked while others will become weak. This leads to a situation of adapted body posture. One example of adapted body posture is in stroke victims. The brain is then not able to control the muscles and limbs as usual. Normally with a serious stroke the muscle use on the one side of the body is lost. There is a paralysis on that side. Bad body posture lead to muscle and joint pains. Fibrositis may also develop deep in the tissue of joints and muscles, with the accompanying pain and discomfort.
Which factors influence body posture? Major factors such as our modern life style and unbalanced muscle loading as well as the surface or structure which supports our bodies. Here we refer to the chair you sit in or the surface you walk or run on, or the mattress you sleep on. Furthermore your muscle strength and the condition of your joints also contribute to your body posture. Joints that are flexible contribute to a good posture. Our muscles and joints need to be exercised regularly to maintain strength and suppleness. Muscle stretching exercises help to warm the muscles which prepares them for more strenuous exercise.
Which exercises are best? Any exercise, or a combination of exercises are good, always starting and ending with the warming exercises. Low impact exercises such as walking, swimming and cycling are actually the best. It is important that all the skeletal muscles are strengthened during exercise.
What else can we do to ensure good body posture? Do not walk with your hands in your pants pockets (especially males are guilty of this). Do not slouch in a chair or couch, but sit upright with a straight back. Make sure that you sleep on a good mattress which give enough support to the whole body. Do not carry loads on one side only. Loads such as ruck sacks must be supported by both shoulders, or else the carrying thereof must be alternated from the one hand and then to the other.