Having bad posture can result in annoying neck or lower back pains. Over time, it can even result in chronic health issues. As such, many of us become conscious of having good posture. In fact, it gets to a point where we desire to attain a gold standard in standing, sitting and moving. However, is there really such a thing as a ‘perfect’ posture? Is there really one best posture for everyone?
The truth is that you can never settle for perfect, unchanging posture. This is because having one posture in itself is not good for you. A good posture is one that is dynamic, which means that it will continually change. Your body should be moving and you should be active in changing your posture regularly. The secret to ridding your backache is to have more varied postures instead of being stagnant and sticking to one static, “best” posture.
According the Emile Dumont, founder of The Posture Lab, taking a dynamic approach to posture enables you to break down movement patterns that are inconsistent with your baseline movement. It can even identify under or over developed muscles that are affecting your posture. Do you realise that you favour leaning on your left as opposed to your right? Do you tend to hunch? Given that we tend to go ahead with the path of least resistance, your preferences tell you a lot about the state of your muscles.
Adopting the appropriate changes will also make you more aware of your habits that can affect your overall posture. As you change your posture throughout the day, what do you notice and how do you feel? Do you tend to slouch a lot? Do you unconsciously jut your shoulders forward as you type away on your keyboard? As you plant both feet firmly on the ground, cross your left leg over your right, straighten your back and more, do you also overcompensate by overarching your back to keep it straighter? Leaning and resting your back on your chair seems comfortable, but how are you placing your hands?
Actively adjusting your posture can help you to identify differences in your joint mobility. Some can squat comfortably, while others can sit cross legged all day. This tells you a lot about your body and you can act on it by making tweaks to your exercise routine to target weak areas accordingly.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using tools to help us achieve better posture. A lumbar cushion or an ergonomic chair is always a good investment. Standing desks are also a great option for those who struggle with being seated for long periods of time. Occasional stretches should not be forgotten as well. Take 5 minutes of your time to give your body a good stretch or go for a walk. Movement is one of the keys to good health, so be sure to turn it whenever you get the chance!