Man leaning back, holding his lower back in pain

There is a classic adage that says that mothers know best. In the case of fitness, their constant reminder to sit up straight turns out to be backed by science. Posture is more than just looking long and lean. It is a key factor in health and fitness.

What is Posture?

Posture is defined as the way our bodies interact with gravity through alignment and positioning. Gravity is everywhere and acts on things all the time. Even when we are lying down, our bodies feel its force.

The human body equipped to handle the constant pull of gravity. When we do not align our bodies properly, however, that force is not properly distributed. The result is that some parts of our body feel overworked, and that can lead to injury.  

In an article from Harvard Health Publishing, it was written that poor posture isn’t always because of a bad habit. Other factors, such as flexibility and strength, affect a person’s posture. If the muscles are tight, it can distort the position of the body. In other cases, weak core muscles tend to make the body lean forward.

It is not easy to pinpoint the exact cause of poor posture. Some people opt to seek help from medical professionals to find an effective treatment method. Enterprise imaging can help to show potential problems in posture and how to treat them. Data is better managed and can lead to a better diagnosis as doctors access the information easily.

Good vs. Bad Posture

Good posture is about more than just appearances. It is a health concern. The Cleveland Clinic lists an array of reasons why it is vital to have good posture. For example, good posture helps prevent the wearing down of joint surfaces. Damaged joints can eventually lead to arthritis.

Good posture also lessens fatigue because the body is not straining. The main point is that good posture means the body can function better and more efficiently.

Conversely, bad posture can lead to a variety of aches and pains. According to the Mayo Clinic, It can cause discomfort on the back and neck as well as the lower extremities. Incorrect posture can also lead to headaches. Another little-known symptom of bad posture is breathing problems. When you slouch, your rib cage can push against the diaphragm. When this happens, lung capacity is constricted, and breathing is affected.

Improving Posture

You are not born with the posture you have. There are ways that you can improve it to prevent injury in the future.

It is important to note that it takes time to address posture issues. Habits need to be broken. In cases where the issue is physical, you need to address the root cause of slouching for a more permanent solution.

Being conscious of the issue is important. Adjust your position when you notice that you are not practicing correct posture. Another way to improve is to exercise the main muscles that affect your posture like the lower back and abdominal muscles.

Yoga and Pilates are fitness routines that help improve posture. They both promote mindfulness, so you are more aware of the positioning of the body. They also tend to target the core muscles.

Plank & Cobra

One exercise you can do is the plank pose. This position focuses on the obliques and the transverse abdominis. It also strengthens shoulder and back muscles, to keep the shoulders from slumping forward.

Exercises that target the spine relieve tension and help make it stronger. You can do an exercise called the cobra pose. It focuses on the erector spinae, or the back muscles as well as the lower back muscles.

A strong back can support the body so that it does not easily get injured, especially when doing sports or other fitness activities.

Ironically, it is essential to pay attention to your posture when exercising to improve posture. You should engage your abdominal muscles and pull them towards the spine. Movements should be controlled and deliberate. Incorrect movements lead to injury. It just goes to show how important good posture is to fitness as well as to everyday life.

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About The Author

Mikkie Mills's picture

Mikkie Mills is a freelance writer who's passionate about health, fitness, organic cooking and eating, and yoga. When not writing she loves traveling, hiking, and cooking. Find more from Mikkie on Google+.

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