Good Posture

Good Posture


Posture is the way in which we involve and hold our bodies in the things we
do – how we stand, sit, rest or move about. The way we carry ourselves determine
how aligned our bodies are, which muscles are involved, to what degree and in
what combination.

Efficient functioning of the body or better known as good posture, requires
a state of balance and tone in the body in the resting position or with movement,
with the maximum freedom combined with stability.

If balance is not maintained some muscle groups work harder leading to increased
tone and fatigue while others are continually stretched and have decreased tone.
The muscles themselves become painful and extra strain is placed on the joints,
ligaments, tendons and neural tissue. Constant strain on these structures may
lead to irritation, inflammation and degeneration.

Problems associated with bad posture are headaches, low back pain, shoulder-
and upper back pain and a pre-disposition to injuries of muscles and joints.

Maintaining a good balanced posture will make you look better, feel better
and prevent injuries, aches and pains.

Be aware!

· Look in the mirror and evaluate your own posture.

· Do regular posture training exercises

· Keep fit

· Existing problems to muscles, joints and nerves may require physiotherapy
treatment like mobilisation, massage, electrotherapy and specific stretching
and strengthening programs.

Consistent practice and awareness can improve posture within a few weeks. Eventually
muscles will react automatically and the good posture will become effortless

Follow these simple steps for postural training:

· Relax

· Breathe deeply

Place the hands on the stomach and gently breathe in through your nose. Feel your lungs filling with oxygen and slowly expand and relax your stomach. Breathe out.

With one finger on the pubic bone and one on your navel, try and shorten the gap as you breathe out and flatten your stomach to your spine without tilting your pelvis.

Breathe in and feel that gap slightly expand. Make sure you breathe slowly and deeply.

· Gently squeeze the bottom muscles

· Visualise yourself as a puppet being suspended from a string that’s attached to the top of your head - the string would keep your chin tucked in, and your ears, shoulders and hips would fall into a straight line, wouldn’t they?

Think "grow tall"

Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat every hour.

Do this while you sit, stand, sleep, walk or run.

Remember when you sit:

· Avoid slumping

· Both feet must be well supported on the floor

· Avoid sitting for prolonged periods

Remember when you sleep:

· Sleep on a firm mattress

· Avoid sleeping on the stomach or with arms under the pillow

· Avoid sleeping on a coach

Remember when you do lifting:

· Avoid lifting heavy objects- get someone to help you

· Bend the knees, brace the stomach and keep the back straight.

· Keep the object close to the body.

· Do not twist the body – step around if you need to change direction.

Rene’ Geldenhuys (registered physiotherapist)

Marketing and Public Relations

South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP)

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