Posture, Its Benefits And Physiotherapy
Posture is the attitude assumed by body either when the body is stationary or when it is moving. Posture is attained as a result of coordinated action of various muscles working to maintain stability.
The posture are basically divided in to two types:
- Inactive postures- These are postures or attitudes adopted for resting or sleeping. They require theoretically minimal muscle activity, and are usually assumed in need of relaxation.
- Active posture- The integrated action of many muscles is required to maintain active postures, they are basically divided in two types:
A). Static postures- Body segments are aligned and maintained in a fixed positions. This is usually achieved by co-ordination and interaction of various muscle groups which are working statically to counteract gravity and other forces. Examples of static postures are standing, sitting, lying, and kneeling.
B). Dynamic postures- In this type of posture body segments are moving. it is usually required to form an efficient basis for movement.Muscles and non-contractile structures have to work to adapt for changing circumstances. Examples are walking, running, jumping, throwing, and lifting.
As is true for any testing, there must be a standard, same holds true for assessing postural alignment. The ideal skeletal alignment is known as Ideal posture or Standard posture. To get an understanding of ideal posture, we need to know the ideal alignment of spine and other joints at rest. An ‘ideal’ posture may be defined as one which requires the least muscular effort or energy to maintain. In an ‘ ideal’ standing posture with good balance, and an upright head, only minimal muscular effort is required to maintain the position.
Here are three ways to correct posture in standing with your feet hip distance apart:
Imagine a string pulling you up towards the ceiling – stand up tall.
Gently pull the tummy muscles in towards the spine. Relax the shoulders away from the ears and draw the shoulder blades down and in.
How to evaluate A posture
While posture is referred to a habitual manner to bear a body while sitting and standing, it’s best to evaluate when standing. Stand sideways in front of a large mirror while maintaining usual posture. Ask someone to put dots on mirror where they see the middle of ear, shoulder, hips, knee and ankles. Connect the dots. If the line is straight, a correct body posture can be assumed.
benefits of good posture
- Increases Confidence: According to researchers at Ohio State University and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain, our body not only influences how other people see us, but it also influences how we feel about ourselves. Richard Petty, professor of psychology at Ohio State University, and Pablo Briñol, a former postdoctoral fellow at Ohio State University, studied 71 students who were instructed to sit in front of a computer terminal while adopting one of four postures: sitting up straight, sitting with their chest pushed forward, sitting with their face turned down toward their knees, or sitting slouched forward.
While sitting in these positions, the students completed a survey in which they listed their positive and negative traits with respect to their professional performance. The students were then asked to take another survey in which they rated themselves based on how well they believed they would perform in a future job.
The researchers found that the students who maintained an upright posture seemed more confident in their self-evaluation, whether the evaluation was positive or negative. The students who adopted slumped postures, on the other hand, expressed less confidence in their own ratings, even when the ratings were positive.
- Good Posture Helps Reduce Back Pain: Good posture is necessary to keep the structures of the back and spine in proper alignment and maintain a healthy curvature to the vertebral column. While more research is needed to clarify the association between posture and lower back pain, experts believe that sitting in a slumped position over a long period of time causes distortions to the spine and increases the likelihood that an individual will experience lower back pain. It is also thought that a slumped posture may contribute to the lengthening or shortening of the back muscles, degeneration of the joints, muscle spasms, and disc problems, all of which can result in low back pain.
- Increases Flexibility and Range of Motion: When we speak of flexibility, we’re referring to the mobility, or range of motion (ROM) of the muscles and joints. Muscles often work in antagonistic pairs. This means that as one muscle contracts, the opposite muscle relaxes to accommodate the movement. the biceps and triceps are an example of an antagonistic muscle pair. Poor posture promotes muscle imbalances that can lead to the excessive tightening or over-stretching of the muscles. When this happens, range of motion is affected. Similarly, overly tight pectoral muscles cause the shoulders to become rounded, resulting in a slumped posture and decreased range of motion of the neck.
- Improves Natural Balance: Good posture helps you maintain your balance as a person walks. This ability to maintain proper balance and gait (asking) mechanics is the key to preventing falls in elderly people. This ability to stay upright is especially important for elderly women, who are more susceptible to osteoarthritis and are therefore at a greater risk of sustaining a serious injury due to a fall.
- Increases Lung Capacity: Feeling short of breath? Maintaining good posture can help increase your lung capacity. The expansion of the ribcage is necessary in order for the lungs to fully inflate. If the lungs don’t have enough room to inflate fully, the diaphragm and other respiratory muscles will need to work harder to maintain breathing.
According to researchers at Northwestern University’s Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences, good posture has a direct positive effect on lung capacity. The researchers studied the randomly assumed postures of seventy able-bodied subjects. Some of the subjects were sitting normally, while others were standing or leaning against the backrest of a seat. The study concluded that exploratory flow was significantly superior in subjects who were standing than in those who were sitting normally or in a slumped position.
- Improves Digestive Function: Good posture is thought to play an important role in the proper functioning of the digestive system. Proper posture also helps alleviate bloating and gas by strengthening the diaphragm and other core muscle. One study found that poor posture constricted the movement of the diaphragm and pushed the abdominal organs together, resulting in bloating and distension.
- Improves Your Mood: According to Erik Peper, Ph.D., professor of Health Education at San Francisco State University, maintaining proper posture can help improve your energy levels and mood concluded that the depression and energy levels are affected not only by our thoughts and experiences, but also by our body movement and posture. Another study, published in Health Psychology, found that maintaining good posture plays a role in the regulation of emotions.
- Improves Focus: It is estimated that 25 per cent of all of the oxygen in the body is utilized by the brain.
As we have seen already, good posture encourages proper breathing, which is essential to deliver vital oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the brain. What’s more, posture is thought to influence our decision-making and leadership abilities. A study, conducted by researchers from Stanford University took these findings even further by demonstrating that posture may even be the most significant predictor of leadership ability.The study concluded that simply adopting a high-power pose can increase one’s sense of power and tolerance for risk-taking.
- Reduces Neck Pain: Most incidences of neck pain that are not the result of a trauma are caused by postural problems. This is also because poor posture distorts the natural curve of the spine below the cervical region. Improper alignment of the head and spine places significant strain on the muscles of the neck (the levator, pectoralis minor muscles, scalene muscles, scapulae muscles, suboccipital muscles, and subscapularis muscles). Improper posture also leads to a common condition called forward head posture, in which the neck slants in front of the shoulders.
- Healthier Joints: Maintaining good posture prevents excessive strain on the bones and joints. Poor posture, on the other hand, places excessive stress on the joints, which can lead to increased knee, hip, foot and shoulder pain. It is believed that maintaining poor posture over a long period of time can also accelerate degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis.