Posture is a fluid struggle- you are always going to be slipping in and out of healthy spinal postions depending on your activity. But many of us are ignorant of the basics of good, neutral posture. Let’s define it quickly: neutral posture is a position of low pressure in which the spine’s natural curvature and alignment are maintained. This is difficult to achieve! Unless you are proactive at all points throughout the day, you will fall into positions that are damaging for the spine and surrounding musculature. Sitting and standing, the two most common positions we adopt throughout the day, pose the largest challenge to our postural integrity.
Where to start: awareness
Simply acknowledging when you have failed is step one. No one is perfect and, in the game of posture, perfection is unattainable. The simple fact is that even if you were able to maintain perfect posture for hours on end your spine would still suffer. The spine is designed to move, and it is always under pressure. Which means that perfect posture is a zero-sum game. So let’s throw the idea of perfect posture out the window and talk about neutral posture. Here we identify neutral posture while standing:
- Weight distributed evenly on each side of the body
- Weight born by the balls of the feet rather than the heels
- Feet shoulder-width apart
- Shoulders back but relaxed
- Head balanced atop the spine
- Spine straight and belly button tucked in.
Always keep this position in mind and reset when you can. Awareness is the number one greatest tool you have in your posture struggle. The second greatest tool is your musculature- the support network of muscles that help you maintain neutral posture. This musculature must be developed with purpose, prioritizing the health of your spine; in so doing, you will feel, look and function a lot better. If you are looking to improve your posture, give our office in Westwood a call to schedule an appointment today.