Perfect Posture, is it a myth?

For a long time now people have talked about the “perfect posture”, which most believe is sitting or standing up “perfectly” straight, head and shoulders back, tummy pulled in. But this is not necessarily correct nor should we be using the terms ‘perfect’ and ‘posture’ in the same sentence anymore.

Our spines have natural curvatures in them called kyphosis and lordosis, some have larger curve or less curves, some even have scoliosis of different severities, which is a curve to one side. So in respect to this, one posture simply could not suit every single person. We also have to think about different age groups, gender, height, and weight. These are factors that can influence our postures.

So you may be asking, what is the right way to sit or stand?

Quite simply, there is not one correct way or one wrong way to sit or stand. The best thing we can do for our spines and bodies as a whole is movement. The “worst” posture is any one position for prolonged periods of time/being staticVariety is key!

There are some good positions you can adopt for sitting and standing, especially for those of you who work several hours a day at a desk:

  1. Upright sitting
  2. Forward sitting
  3. Reclined sitting

(See the link below for more information on these positions)

Other things to think about are; making sure you have a comfortable and adjustable chair, your screen/s are well positioned so you are not looking up constantly or having to turn your neck too far. Desk height is also important for positioning of your hands, arms and shoulders.

As mentioned above, variety is key! So mix it up, do not sit/stand in one position for too long.

I often advise my patients to take a micro breaks every 30 minutes for 15-30 seconds to change your position. Stand up, do some trunk twists, back bends (forward and backward), shoulder rolls, wrist stretches or a few squats, sit back down and back into work!

Then every hour take a slightly longer break for 1 minute or so, take a walk and stretch the legs, get the blood flowing and allow your brain and eyes to have a little breather.

If a standing desk is available then make use of this, if not then maybe it is time to have a chat with you boss/manager. Remember pain/injuries from work are more costly to the company than buying an adjustable standing desks. So have the conversation today!

Key tip on introducing a standing desk: little but often!

You do not want to go from sitting all day to standing all day.. Your feet will more than likely end up aching by the end of the day! Your body needs time to adapt and adjust! Just like you don’t go out and run a marathon with no training and expect to cross the finish line injury/pain free.

So gradual is best, start with small time frames say 20 minutes 3 times a day, then increase these periods up to an hour or so at a time. Applying the same tips mentioned above for movement every 30 and 60 minutes.

Remember: Movement for life!

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, stay tuned for my next one which will contain some of my favourite exercises for office workers.

I would also like to acknowledge the APA for providing the above link and resource and the article itself for providing some valuable knowledge and tips.

To book your Physiotherapy appointment at Embrace Life, call 3491 6533 or book online.