‘Sit up straight’. ‘Don’t slouch’. Haven’t we all heard these repeated admonitions from our parents while growing up? Well, it turns out, it was all for a reason.
Fitness and health experts have for long stressed on the importance of good posture. It, quite simply, ensures that we sit, stand, walk, and lie in positions that place the least strain on our muscles and ligaments.
In the first of a two part series, we discover why body alignment, stance, gait, and posture are so important for someone who is in training:
Cause & Effect
“In this age of computers, cars and couches, we end up staying in specific positions for long periods of time, resulting in muscular imbalance. Poor posture increases that imbalance to a point where our spinal discs are being compressed, our nerves are being choked, and our circulation gets compromised. The muscles either degenerate or get so tight that they almost feel like bars of steel. Needless to say, all of this results in pain; the kind that someone in training should not be subjected to” says Vivian Eisenstadt, a physical therapist, personal trainer, orthopedic and postural specialist.
For someone who wants to exercise regularly, the repercussions of a bad posture are more severe than you can imagine. The pain could range from a simple headache and fatigue to severe back and neck pain. You are likely to fall off your exercise program or end up at the physiotherapist’s clinic. While some signs manifest themselves and are evident, the constricted blood vessels and nerves, and warped muscles, discs and joints go unnoticed for long periods of time.
Apart from the physical benefits, good posture is also linked to psychological and mental wellness. Your physical demeanor is intrinsically bound to our mental state. From a psychological standpoint, bad posture could be the result of feeling anxious, demotivated, and pessimistic,” says Maurice Williams, a personal fitness trainer, corrective exercise specialist and fitness educator with Move Well Fit Academy.
The Defaulters List
Correct posture is all about keeping your body in balance. Vivian has a checklist for poor posture:
- Do you sit with your knees out to the side?
- Is your pelvis tilted to your face when you’re sitting?
- Is your head in front of your body?
- When you bring your shoulders back, does your back extend instead?
- Does your standing posture resemble more of an ape than a person?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then you need to wait for the second part of our series, where we discuss how you can correct your posture problems, now that you have identified them. Stay tuned.