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The Importance of Maintaining Good Posture

Courtesy of Tracy Miller, PTA
Therapy Program Manager at Mosser
Encore Rehabilitation

 The Importance of Maintaining Good Posture

Your backbone is the key to good posture, and a strong, solid posture is necessary to feel good and stay active. Many people, however, don’t stand straight. Their heads droop, their shoulders become rounded and their backs slump. Over time, poor posture causes muscle weakness or tightness. Slumping while watching TV or using a computer may throw your spine out of alignment. Our parents were onto something when they told us to sit up straight and stand erect. Perfecting your posture requires a lot of attention initially, but with practice it becomes second nature. Good habits build good posture, and good posture gives you more energy and fewer aches and pains.

Posture is the position of your body while standing, sitting, and performing daily tasks. When your body is properly aligned, it is well-balanced, with minimum stress and strain on supporting structures such as bones, ligaments and muscles. Good posture also provides appropriate positioning for your inner organs. Keeping your body straight gives your lungs the space they need for full expansion and keeping your abdominal muscles tight provides support for intestinal and pelvic organs. Posture affects breathing and arm and neck movements. It even affects how your jaw works and the way you chew.

Posture does change over time, but many limitations that people associate with aging are actually due to inactivity. You may see older people with an almost goose-necked stance, head forward and shoulders severely rounded. But many younger people, especially those who spend a lot of time at their desks peering at computer monitors, exhibit these same postures earlier in life.

Certainly age-related changes and conditions do occur. For example, as you get older the discs in your back lose some of their water content, becoming less spongy, more rigid and narrower, exaggerating bad posture and stiffness. Hips and knees tend to become slightly more bent as you age, leading to walking pattern alterations. The possibility of developing conditions such as osteoporosis and spinal stenosis also increase with age. You can’t turn back the hands of time, but with proper exercise and training, you can maintain and improve your body’s performance despite advancing age.