The word posture gets a lot of buzz these days. We use it often in our own practice at Human Garage and realigning poor posture is at the core of what we do. We are about mind/body repair + alignment, after all. We believe that posture is at the core of many issues of pain, dysfunction, and injury in the body. Our technologically driven society where we stare at laptops, iPhones, Instagram, Facebook, and sit in our cars for long periods of time a day have fundamentally altered our body's natural state. Sadly, this is often not for the better (I am fighting my urge to hunch over my MacBook Air as we speak, thank you Apple).
I’ve often taken for granted that those reading our blogs or coming to Human Garage understand and know why our body’s posture is so important. So I set out to ask our staff, motion mechanics, body flow therapists, progression specialists, and more just what all the hype is around posture.
The basis of our company is founded on the tenant that injuries, trauma, and poor body alignment or posture cause our bodies to become wound-up and tense, eventually leading to a downward spiral in overall body alignment. Realigning the body is ultimately a question of bringing our body back into proper posture. Yes, maybe our mothers were onto something when they told us as young children to "Stop slouching and stand up straight!"I set out to do some research on a simple question with large implications. Why does good posture matter?
Here is what some of my research had to say:
“Good posture means your bones are properly aligned and your muscles, joints and ligaments can work as nature intended. It means your vital organs are in the right position and can function at peak efficiency. Good posture helps contribute to the normal functioning of the nervous system.
Without good posture, your overall health and total efficiency may be compromised. Because the long-term effects of poor posture can affect bodily systems (such as digestion, elimination, breathing, muscles, joints and ligaments), a person who has poor posture may often be tired or unable to work efficiently or move properly" (Source: Kansas Chiro Foundation).
The effects of poor posture are far reaching. Poor posture and poor body alignment can lead to imbalances and issues with many internal systems, including but not limited to our digestion, breath, muscles, joints, and nervous system.
Research also suggests that good posture has implications on our psychological well-being. Research in one New Zealand study suggested: “sitting or standing upright helped participants feel more powerful and competent when facing a number of challenging tasks they were assigned to. In other words, bodily experiences can significantly affect cognitive and emotional states as well, the researchers concluded” (Source: Huffington Post).
I asked our staff this same question: Why does posture matter? All of us on staff have gone through the process of unwinding have experienced profound postural changes. Intuitively, we've learned to feel in our bodies what good posture feels like. I asked our staff to chime in on why good posture matters. Here is what they had to say.“Good posture is required in order to be aligned. Alignment is when all of the processes that define our human existence are working together. When our body is out of alignment it stimulates our Sympathetic nervous system (Fight or Flight response) to fix the problem. When our fight or flight response is activated our parasympathetic nervous system (Rest and Recover) is suppressed and our body cannot heal itself or even take care of basic processes like digestion and sleep. Our bodies are completely balanced inside and out and alignment is the outcome of all these processes working correctly."
“Our center of gravity is based on our posture and affects our alignment, therefore our stability and balance as well. Posture makes a difference in how we look, feel, and move. Good posture keeps our head on straight and prevents us from falling over!”
“Good alignment equals good posture. For the body to have proper alignment good posture is absolutely necessary. Bad posture starts a domino effect leading to improper alignment of the body. This contributes to the dysfunction of the body which leads to pain.
Bad habits lead to poor past posture. Slouching, slumping over; these are easy things to do. Unfortunately, good posture takes a lot of hard work. It's habit based. It's something you have to constantly work on until it becomes second nature.”
“Having good posture gives me confidence! I feel beautiful when I am standing tall.”
“Posture is the way we position ourselves to embrace our worlds, both inside and outside. Doing so actively consciously allows us to operate at the best of our abilities.”
“Good posture makes you look 10 years younger."
“Posture matters in the sense of not only being in alignment but also it gives you a sense of confidence that you're present and ready for life. When you're in your body and aware, knowing that your posture is set you feel incredible.”
“Posture is an amalgamation and integration of the infinite threads of life experience and the circumstances of each present moment. Unconscious patternings, emotional waves, self-perception and conscious awareness all merge in the body forming posture.”
I did some research and compiled additional resources on why posture and alignment matter.
Here’s a note from Harvard University (perhaps you've heard of them) called “Why Good Posture Matters.”
And a video from TED Ed as to why it matters.
Lastly, an important piece proclaiming: ‘Text neck’ is becoming an ‘epidemic’ and could wreck your spine.