Posture is not only important so you don’t walk around looking like an unevolved primate. Here is just a short list of the benefits of optimal posture:
1: helps you fatigue less easily
2: less stress on your joints
3: allows the body to move more efficiently
4: helps the body determine which muscles are weak or strong by lengthening or shortening certain muscles
5: helps prevent muscle imbalances
6: provides shock absorption
7: helps prevent overtraining
8: promotes the transfer of energy during movement
Not bad for a short list, eh!
So what types of poor posture are there? Some are structural like scoliosis and fused vertebae. Others are caused by muscle imbalance. Here are a few types of misalignment, along with some things to think about to adjust them.
I’ll start at your feet. One type of imbalance is called Supination. Supination is when your feet roll outward. This causes pain in your shins and joints. Pronation is when your feet roll inward, causing your knees to collapse inward for some. This is usually an indication of tight posterior muscles and IT band.
Now some folks, especially those selling orthodics, will suggest those orthodics for pronation issues and cushioned shoes for supination. Just a thought here – go barefoot like me. Actually build up your muscles in the correct form (slowly of course) and maybe, just maybe you can fix your posture. Not sure…talk to a physical therapist.
Up to the knees now. Hyperextended knees is when the ligaments and connective tissues around the knee are too loose. Remember we are talking about posture issues, not injuries here. This can cause back problems as well. You can tell you have this because your knee looks as though it bends backwards. You can strengthen the knee joints by performing exercises like leg extensions and isometric yoga-type exercises.
Finally, let’s talk about your back. There are 3 posture issues with your back. The first is Kyphosis or Convex Curvature of your spine. This results in the shoulders rounding forward and the buttocks tucking under, which is an indication that the upper back is weak and the chest is tight. A great way to counter this is to perform exercises that strengthen your upper back and stretch out your chest.
Another issue is an extreme arch in the lower back area is called Hyperlordosis or Swayback. This is an indication of tight back muscles and weak abdominals. So, as you would guess, it would help to stretch the back and strengthen the abs.
The third posture misalignment with your back is a Flat Back. This is when the spine is completely straight with no normal curvature. Performing core and lower back exercises may help with this.
Just a reminder of course – if you have severe issues make sure you get the advice of a physician and/or physical therapist. The above discussion is merely to give you some things to think about concerning your posture issues. Do you have perfect posture? If not, think about working on correcting it. The benefits will be worth it.