In today's fast-paced world, maintaining good posture often takes a back seat. However, it is crucial to recognise that good posture plays a significant role in our overall health and wellbeing. In this post, we will delve into the importance of good posture to highlight the positive impact it can have on various aspects of our lives.
Optimal Spinal Alignment
Proper posture ensures that our spine is aligned correctly, maintaining the natural curves of the spine. According to a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, maintaining good posture helps distribute mechanical stresses evenly on the spine, reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and back pain . Additionally, research published in the European Spine Journal found that maintaining an erect posture during sitting significantly reduces the load on spinal discs compared to slouching .
Improved Breathing and Digestion
Posture affects our breathing and digestion. A study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies highlighted that an upright sitting posture facilitates optimal lung function and deeper breaths, leading to improved oxygenation of the body and increased energy levels . Sitting or standing in the correct postural position allows your lungs to fully expand, increasing your oxygen intake.
Enhanced Muscle Function
Maintaining proper alignment of the spine and other joints is crucial for optimal musculoskeletal health. Good posture distributes the forces exerted on our bodies evenly, reducing excessive stress on specific muscles and joints. This in turn can prevent chronic pain, muscle imbalances, and the development of musculoskeletal conditions. Having good posture also relies on engaging our core muscles including our abdominal and back muscles. By keeping these muscles engaged your core strength will improve over time. This again is linked to reducing the risk of injuries over time.
Increased Energy and Confidence
Maintaining good posture positively affects our energy levels and psychological wellbeing. Good posture allows for better circulation, leading to increased alertness and overall vitality. Ensuring that you have the correct alignment is vital to ensuring you maintain the correct posture. Getting seen by a physiotherapist can help with this and set you up to align your spine correctly to enable you to maintain this position over time.
Posture at Work
Whether you are sitting or standing in your workplace it is important to ensure you are maintaining your correct postural alignment. If you work at a desk all day, an ergonomically workstation is important for maintaining the health of your back, shoulders, arms and wrists. Ideally, your desk should be slightly below elbow level so that your forearms and wrists can stay parallel to the floor when typing. Be sure that your shoulders stay relaxed, not hunched. Typing with poor posture and ergonomics can cause various types of repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. These conditions can affect not just the wrists but the whole upper body. They are painful and can be difficult to treat, so it’s important to nip them in the bud. Physiotherapists can help you to ensure your workstation is set up correctly.
The significance of good posture cannot be understated when it comes to our health and well-being. Supported by scientific research, we have explored how proper posture influences spinal alignment, breathing, digestion, muscle function, energy levels, and long-term health. By prioritising good posture and making conscious efforts to maintain it, we can reap the numerous benefits it offers.
If you would like to work on posture, or even have a workstation assessment book in to see our Physio’s or Pilates instructors to have a postural assessment and work on postural wellbeing.
By Lisa Brooker, Senior Physiotherapist + Pilates Instructor
1. Kim SH, et al. (2015). Comparison of spinal alignment, body balance, and muscle strength in women in their 20s and 30s with and without chronic lower back pain. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 27(7), 2189-2192.
2. O'Sullivan PB, et al. (2002). The effect of posture and seat design on the discomfort and back muscle activation of sitting workers with chronic low back pain. European Spine Journal, 11(1), 50-55. 3. Smith MD, et al. (2017). The effect of posture on lung volumes and oxygen saturation in healthy adults. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 21(2), 299-