“Sit up straight”, “Keep your shoulders down and back”, “Stack your ribs over your pelvis”, are common cues you will hear when referring to improving your posture. There are many benefits to having good posture other than just looking better. Good posture leads to less pain and better function.
Good posture involves keeping your centre of gravity over your base of support, which encourages a more efficient movement pattern with less fatigue and muscle strain. It also helps improve your balance.
Having good posture reduces strain on your ligaments, muscles and bones. For example, if your shoulders are down and back rather than forward, you will have less strain on the anterior ligaments/tendons of the shoulder joint. As a result you are preventing injuries such as tears, tendonitis or bursitis. Similarly, bringing your chin back so your ear is in line with your shoulder, you will have less wear and tear on your cervical spine, preventing conditions such as osteoarthritis or stenosis. You will also have less strain on the muscles of the head and neck, which can reduce headaches and dizziness.
Good posture can also optimize the activation of your muscles. With a proper skeletal alignment, muscles are in their optimal length, which produces the most power and function. This is evident when activating your core strength. Keeping your ribs stacked over your pelvis and keeping a neutral spine will help to activate inner core muscles.
Breathing and your cardio-respiratory function improves as your posture improves because you are creating more space in your thorax, allowing for optimal performance of the muscles of respiration such as your diaphragm, intercostals, and pelvic floor, enabling deep breaths and better lung capacity.
Having a postural assessment can help identify areas you need to improve with simple exercises and education surrounding your environment to promote better posture.