The Truth About Poor Posture
The Truth About Poor Posture
When we look at the young their back shows a perfect S curve and their movements are graceful, smooth and without effort. As we age our posture is affected by bad habits such as slouching or inactivity which ultimately leads to poor posture, muscle fatigue and tension.
Symptoms Of Poor Posture
- Back pain
- Muscle fatigue
- Joint degeneration
- Spinal dysfunction
- Body aches and pains
- Head is positioned forward or backward
- Knees are bent when walking or standing
- Rounded shoulders
Poor posture affects the body’s postural mechanisms including:
- Slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers
- Muscle length and strength
- Feedback on the body’s position in space
Two Types Of Muscle Fibers
Skeletal muscle is comprised of two different types of fiber – static (also known as slow twitch) and phasic (also known as fast twitch)
- Static muscle fibers are mostly found in the deeper layers of muscle and have the ability to work for very long periods of time without becoming fatigued. They help us to maintain good posture and balance
- Phasic muscle fibers give us movement and tire very quickly
When we get muscle fatigue due to poor posture it is because the body is utilizing the phasic fibers instead of the static fibers to hold the body in position.
Muscle Length And Strength
When it comes to muscles the old saying “use it or lose it” is very apt. Because poor posture uses the phasic muscle fibers to maintain body positioning, the deeper static muscles fibers will deteriorate due to lack of use. Unused muscles have a tendency to tighten up, shortening the length of the muscle. It is this shortening which can compact the vertebrae (bones of the spine) and make your posture worse.
The Body’s Position In Space
One of the jobs of the deeper muscle layers (static fibers) is to sense our position in space and relay this information to the brain. With poor posture this function utilizes phasic muscle fibers which may not supply all of the information needed to establish the exact body position. If this is the case the brain assumes that it must reposition the body to counteract the effects of gravity which triggers more muscle contractions causing further fatigue and pain.
So Listen To Your Body
When sitting or standing make minor adjustments until you find a position that is comfortable, graceful and easy to maintain. If you begin to feel muscle tension or fatigue in this position go through the same steps again and find another position.
How To Improve Your General Posture
- Use the curve reversal rule – if you have been leaning over your computer for a long period of time, stretch back in the opposite direction
- Boost muscle flexibility by doing stretching exercises two or three times a week
- Improve muscle tone and strength with regular exercise
- Turn your head from side to side regularly to stretch your neck muscles
- Do abdominal crunches two or three times a week (abdominal muscles help support your lower back)
- Avoid standing on one leg for extended periods of time.
- Cross your legs at the ankle, not the knee.
How To Maintain Good Posture
- Avoid sitting in soft chairs with no support
- Use lumbar rolls for lower back support when sitting or driving
- If you need to sit for long periods of time use ergonomic chairs
- Make sure your mattress is able to keep your spine straight when you are lying on your side
- Use a pillow that has good neck support
- When lifting keep your back straight and use your thigh muscles