Do you remember when you were told not to slouch, or when you’re reminded to stand straight or sit properly?
If you’ve been hearing this for numerous times, there must be something wrong with your posture that’s becoming quite hard not to notice.
The question is, aside from being called out by those who have noticed, how do you know if you have bad posture, and how do you stop it from getting worse? In this article, we’ll discuss bad posture, good posture, and ways on how you determine which one you have.
What is Bad Posture?
Bad posture is an asymmetrical or non-neutral bodily position, manifesting as a misalignment of the body such as rounded shoulders, a hunched back, and an anterior pelvic tilt.1
Affecting your overall appearance, bad posture occurs when your everyday activities cause some muscles to tighten or shorten, while others weaken and lengthen.
Some develop postural problems as the result of back pain, spinal dysfunction, or joint degeneration. However, more often, bad posture is a result of stress, strain, and day-to-day activities.
What is Good Posture, Anyway?
For you to understand bad posture, we must first comprehend what makes a posture good.
Good posture means straight and symmetrical positioning of the body. This varies based on whether you’re standing, sitting, or lying down.
Let’s talk about good posture when standing. When standing, your knees should be straight and forward, but not locked, and your weight should be evenly distributed between both feet.
Your abdomen, head, and pelvis must be vertically aligned. Your chin should also be elevated in neutral standing posture so that your head is not slanted down to allow your muscles to correctly contract as you move.2
Next, good posture when sitting. Since more and more people spend more time sitting in front of the computer and smartphones, people are getting more susceptible to slouching and bad posture.
To ensure good posture when sitting, your arms and thighs should create right angles, feet flat on the ground and your thighs and forearms parallel to the floor. More importantly, your spine should be straight and your head should be in a neutral position.
Lastly, good posture when sleeping. The National Sleep Foundation advocates sleeping on your back, or the Supine sleeping position to maintain a neutral spine. This is defined as lying flat on your back with your arms at your sides, with your entire body – from head to toe – facing upward, and with your face and chest pointed to the ceiling.
Active postures can be static or dynamic in nature. A static posture happens when we hold the same alignment for an extended amount of time, such as through standing and sitting. Meanwhile, alignments that occur when the body or limbs are moving, such as walking, jumping, or sprinting, are referred to as dynamic postures.
Generally, good posture can be identified through the Plumb Line. The Plumb Line is an imaginary line that should go straight across key locations on your body, such as your ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. It’s similar to a delicate stack of blocks, with diverse components that must align to build on top of each other in good posture.
How Can We Know If We Have Bad Posture?
Now that we know what bad posture is and what good posture should look like, we should also understand how to spot bad posture. Here are some of the ways to spot one:
One way to know if you have a bad posture is to take an image of yourself from all angles. The mirror does not always provide the ideal perspective, so taking photos from different perspectives might help you identify posture concerns that you may not see in real time.
Another is to check your own behavior, especially when you stand and sit. For example, when you’re tired, do you find yourself slouching at your desk or hunching your shoulders? Recognizing these habits is the first step in changing them.
You can also ask a friend or a family member to check your posture out for you. Sometimes we need an extra set of eyes to help us identify postural issues. Ask them to look for rounded shoulders, a forward head position, or unequal hips.
It’s the digital era, and technology can also have its ways in knowing if you have bad posture. You can check out Google Play or App Store and there, you’ll find several apps and tools that can analyze your posture. These mobile apps may utilize your smartphone’s camera to track your body’s alignment and provide feedback on your posture.
How to Treat Bad Posture
To treat bad posture, there are exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles and promote good alignment, particularly those targeting the core, back, and neck muscles. Yoga and Pilates, for example, can improve flexibility and core strength, both of which are necessary for healthy posture. Specific workouts like chin tucks, shoulder blade squeezes, and wall angels can help retrain your muscles to assume a more upright posture.
Working with a physical therapist or chiropractor can also be extremely effective when it comes to correcting bad posture. They can provide personalized programs to address your posture concerns, and employ techniques such as manual therapy to relieve muscle tension and enhance joint mobility to improve posture.
However, if you want a more affordable, yet effective solution, you can use a posture corrector to treat bad posture.
Posture correctors are designed to wrap around your shoulders and back, applying light pressure to keep your shoulders retracted and your spine upright. It’s like having a supporting coach teaching you throughout the day to stand and sit correctly.
However, not all Posture Correctors are the same. If you want the best results, choose a Posture Corrector that’s recommended by health professionals, such as the Posture Lobster.
The first step towards improving your posture is knowing whether you have a bad one. Apart from looking unattractive, bad posture can cause a variety of health concerns, ranging from musculoskeletal disorders to low self-esteem. Whether you’re sitting, standing, or sleeping, you can always learn the right way to improve your posture.
Knowing if you have a bad posture can be determined by taking images of yourself, taken from various angles. You can also ask a friend or family member, or check out apps that can analyze your posture through AI.
If you really had it bad, corrective exercises and chiropractic care are all options for treating bad posture, but they all take time, effort, and money. Posture correctors like the Posture Lobster can easily help you maintain better posture, whether you’re at work, outdoors, or at the comforts of your home.