Poor posture can cause a whole whack of problems (and I’m not even sure how much a whack is but it sounds like a lot). When talking about posture, you can think of two types – static posture and dynamic posture.
A forward head, rounded shoulder, constantly flexed hips… this person would be a hot mess for sure. It would be a pretty good guess that this person may suffer from any or all of headaches, shoulder pain, low back pain or maybe even some hamstring or groin strain problems.
Static posture is just the alignment of your body and how you look when standing. Are your feet straight? Are your knees tracking over the second and third toes? Are your hips level? Shoulders level, neither elevated nor rounded? And how about the head? Is it in a neutral position and not tilted or rotated? A good static posture is pretty much the opposite of the picture at the top of the page.
Dynamic posture is how the body is aligned during movement but a good static posture is the basis for having good movement. If we maintain this poor posture long enough our bodies adapt to staying that way. The body is highly adaptable and is always looking for the path of least resistance so maintaining a poor posture will lead to poor movement, decreased performance and eventually pain and possible injury as muscle imbalances develop.
But just how do our bodies become curled-up skeletal deformity?
1. Our Daily Habits – Sitting at the office all day is a big one. We tend to get molded by our office chairs and our screens seem to draw us in. Randomly throughout the day just stop and take stock of how you are sitting in your chair. Check the position of your head, your shoulders then consciously correct your posture if you found faults. Carrying our backpacks, or other bags draped across our shoulders can also throw our body out of alignment as we overload one side of the body continually.
2. Repetitive Movements – Repeated overuse of the same muscles can cause those muscles to remain shortened and put the body into a poor posture position. For example laborers who constantly work overhead (like painting or hammering overhead) overuse their trapezius and deltoid muscles. Perhaps even in your own workout you over-emphasize bench pressing or shoulder work creating overused chest and shoulder muscles. If that is you then balance is the key—make sure you throw in equal amounts of back and rear shoulder work.
3. Injury – Ever notice if you hurt your ankle or have a sore back you move differently? Perhaps you put more weight on the good leg after an ankle boo boo or you walk a little hunched over when you have a sore back. These altered movement patterns can become habit if proper flexibility isn’t restored after an injury.
4. Past Surgeries – Surgery equals scar tissue—that’s just the way it is. Scar tissue affects the proper movement of muscle and can create compensations by other muscles having to pitch in to help out with the duties of the affected muscle tissue. Given that so much can affect our posture and movement, it’s important to have balance in your fitness routine. Go Hard or Go Home doesn’t always apply to most people and just jumping in to the latest exercise fad may lead to injury if posture is faulty before you begin.