Good Posture is a foundation for a pain-free life and living. In celebration of Posture Awareness Month, invite you to take an honest look at yours. Is it good, bad, or as I like to tease, just plain ugly?
Your POSTURE Reflects How the World SEES YOU!
The way you carry yourself speaks non-verbally to others, and the message may not be one you wish to project. Honest question. How many times have you caught yourself judging a person based on his/her posture?
Like it or not, a person with good posture exudes confidence, happiness, and a commanding presence. Studies are linking overall health and more extended and happier lives to individuals with a GOOD postural position.
And the converse seems to be true. Those with poor posture are considered being sad, depressed, lazy or angry. POOR POSTURE is one of the leading causes of back and neck pain for all ages and even contributes to breathing, digestive, and cardiopulmonary problems.
Correcting, strengthening and working to improve your alignment and body position is an intellectual exercise habit.
There are many reasons why you should work on improving your posture, some of which are improved:
You Can't Correct Your Posture Until You First Assess It
The first step towards improving and restoring your position is to find out where you posture, is aligned, to begin.
You might have never thought about your alignment until today, so it's best to get a baseline assessment, meaning where you are currently as compared to where you should be ideally.
I always say, "you don't know what you don't know," so go get your camera! A picture is worth a thousand words and there's no better way to honestly assess your posture unless you stop and take a look at it from a plumb-line view. It's photo time!
How To Take Posture Photos
Ask a friend/family member to help you out and assist you to take four pictures of your current posture: one facing forward, one facing the back, and one from the right and left sides of the body.
Stand against a neutral background that has little distractions (a blank wall with neutral paint) If possible, use a tripod for your camera so that you are taking a level photo. Be sure to include the whole body from the feet up. There are many free or relatively low-cost app that can be purchased for your phone as well.
Wear a minimal amount of clothing. Bra top and shorts for ladies, bare chest, and shorts for men. No socks, please! Wearing minimal clothing allows for a full view of the major joints (ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders) to be assessed relative to the perpendicular line.
Stand a few inches from a wall. The best gift you can give yourself when determining your current posture is to stand the way you usually do.
Try not to pose or actively correct your body alignment. You want to take an authentic snapshot of where you are so currently positioned. And will be very useful when for helping you measure where you are, and what you need to work on, along with measuring progress over time.
Pull the image up on a computer screen, or even better, print the pictures out.
Assess The Information
After taking a look at where you positioned your body relative to a perpendicular line, ask yourself open-ended questions like:
Is one shoulder higher than the other?
Is the hip higher on one side over than the other?
What direction are the knees and feet pointing (straight ahead, in, out or some combination)?
Are the shoulders and head rounded forward (side view)?
Are the hips rolling forward (toward the front of the body/closer to the floor, or back, tipping up toward the ceiling)?
Make a note of what imbalances you see. Each of these imbalances is a deviation away from the what we refer to as "anatomical neutral posture."
You may not be in pain now, but if not addressed through simple posture correction exercises, these poor postural positions leave us prone to injury, joint dysfunctions and imbalanced muscle groups that cause pain and mobility problems.
Ideally, our bodies should adhere to this anatomical "blueprint," neutral design.
￼What Does Good Posture Alignment Look Like?
From the FRONT VIEW, the two halves of your body should be the same (symmetrical). Your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles are all equal and the same distance from the body.
Poor Posture from the front view will show the two halves of your body to be different at all the major load joints (asymmetrical). The photo may indicate that your head or torso is off to one side, or one hand is lower than the other.
The concepts are the same when assessing a position from the SIDE VIEW. Good Posture in a side view will show a straight line that dissects the fold connecting the ear, shoulder, hip, and ankle. The spine will show standard spinal curves.
Poor Posture from the side view might show all sorts of deviations such as the head being significantly forward of the plumb line, rounded shoulders, excessive tilt of the pelvis, and imbalances from the ankle to knee.
Being aware of your posture and creating a positive change through the use of posture photos is a fundamental component of success with any well designed Corrective Exercise Program. Along with a posture and gait analysis and the proper application of a corrective exercise menu, restoring good posture is key to achieving and maintaining a pain-free life and living.
Have questions? Please contact us. Remember, we're in this together, and I'm here to help! If you enjoyed this article PLEASE comment and SHARE!
Stock Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Head Photo Credit: Melissa Thome Photography
Deb Preachuk is a Certified Foundation Training & STOTT Pilates Instructor, Corrective Exercise & Posture Alignment Specialist, and the founder/owner of Pain Free Posture MN. You can follow Deb on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or subscribe to her YouTube, channel.