What is correct posture? What a loaded question!
Posture, is it the same for everybody? Yes, and no. That didn’t help a whole lot, did it? Yet please allow me to explain. Posture, defined by Merriam-Webster is a position of a person’s body when standing or sitting. Posture, defined by biomechanics is when the central nervous system, internal organs, brain and skeleton are stabilized and supported by the coordinated action of working musculature to obtain it’s segments aligned and maintained.
Posture starts at your feet and works its way up to your ear. As well, it starts at the head and works its way down to your feet. It also dissects you in half, creating a left side and a right using your belly button as the midline. Yet, let’s make this simple. If I was to ask you to stand up tall and give me your best posture, 9 times out of 10 you will be standing backwards of your midline.
Your Standing Posture:
Anita, a competitive soccer player came to me because her knees and hips were hurting. Taking one look at her from the side and I knew why. Anita stood with her weight shifted back in the heels of her feet and her lower legs bowed behind those weighted heels. She further compensated by pushing her upper legs, hips and lower spine forward of her knees and midline. This caused her to round her upper torso backwards and jet her head forward. Ouch! Her excessive curves and imbalanced alignment was not allowing her joints and soft tissues to function in the manner to which they were designed. After an hour of running and playing soccer it was no wonder her knees and hips were screaming for her to stop. Let’ s make sure this doesn’t happen to you.
Let’s take a look at what correct posture is. With the diagram provided, feel free to look at yourself in a mirror standing sideways with your hands by your side. Align the following anatomical structures from bottom to top, making subtle adjustments along the way.
• The forward half of the bone on the outside of your ankle called the lateral malleolus.
• The center of your knee joint.
• The bone that sits like a bump on the outside of your upper thigh, before you reach the hip and pelvis, the greater trochanter.
• The top of your pelvis
• The elbow
• The shoulder
• The ear
With your posture aligned as in the previous diagram, your joints experience balance and demand the appropriate musculature to support and move your body in the way it is intended. Often when you try to get a muscle to perform that just wont, it’s not so much that you are unable to get that muscle to turn on. It’s more often a simple case of incorrect posture. When the bodies aligned, the musculature can do its job.
What could poor posture be costing you? Like Anita, when your structure is out of alignment during movement, your musculature becomes imbalanced, creating unnecessary tension in areas of your body. With continued use, these stresses can result in inflammation and accelerated wear and tear on affected joints, muscles, fascia, tendons, and ligaments.
Sadly, given enough stress, in time you’ll eventually see injury – the one thing that will stop you in your tracks from achieving your fitness goal.
Your Posture In Motion:
“If you don’t make things happen then things will happen to you.”
—Robert Collier, American author
Your aligned posture in motion describes movement at its most efficient. It is your beautiful body aligned and supported during movement.
Aligned posture has other great side benefits. Aligned positioning of your joints creates strong bones, movement efficiency and ease of power. It decreases potential overuse injuries by 85% while it increases the ability to gain health, strength and endurance while reaching your physical goals.
Aligned posture also assists your respiratory function and circulatory system, supports your internal organs and aids in your concentration and mental ability. Not only will your physical body respond positively, your mental capabilities will sharpen, boosting self-esteem and productivity.
Did you know the human body uses up to twenty-five percent more energy to function and focus when in poor alignment? Learning how to move in a functional way that is supportive to your body’s structure is linked to energy and a boost in mental clarity.
If you find it difficult to figure out aligned posture for yourself, please consider finding a coach to assist you during movement. You have many to choose from under Zum’s roof.
Preventing injury, creating better overall health and achieving physical success is an accomplishment of focus and purpose. It all starts with your body’s own aligned posture. Give it a try, stay healthy, and in the words of Spock, “Live long and prosper”.
About the Author:
C.H.E.K., A.I.F.E., A.C.E., USA Cycling Coach
Kym is a fitness and sports performance consultant, USA Cycling Coach, author, and specializes in corrective and high-performance exercise kinesiology and high performance conditioning. With over two decades of experience, Kym has successfully guided hundreds of individuals to better understand the way their bodies naturally work in finding balance through alignment, stability, strength and appropriate power output.
Given Kym’s expertise, she is able to focus on their physical, mental, nutritional, and emotional goals to bring about aspired change. As a former professional dancer, life-long athlete, and elite coach, she is accomplished in observing how the body moves and can discover limitations where others may not. Kym finds methods that work for each individual, whether it is from injury to rehabilitation to corrective exercise or from recreational mover to elite/pro-athlete. She improves function, movement, and activity level to achieve the desired success. The result is a renewed satisfaction and enjoyment of physical activity, sport efficiency, and life.
As an author/coauthor, Kym has several books on the biomechanics of the body in movement, mindset and the art of taking action.