So, what is correct posture?
Correct posture is more than simply standing straight. When standing up your earlobe, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle should all be in line. With your shoulders square, chin up and your abdominal muscles tight.
This is the proper static posture. While the idea of proper posture may seem like an outdated idea based on the importance of appearances, it is also crucial to your health. Poor posture can have many negative side effects. Poor posture can lead to:
- Balance issues
- Difficulty breathing
- Decrease in flexibility
- Misalignment of your musculoskeletal system
- Decreased joint movement
- Neck, shoulder and back pain
- Wearing away of the spine, causing it to become fragile and increasing risk of injury
How can you improve your posture?
One of the largest and most powerful groups of muscles in the human body is in the buttocks. It consists of three muscles; the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. This muscle group is imperative to maintaining proper posture. When the muscle group is weak or underdeveloped, your posture suffers significantly. This is because the gluteus maximus, along with the latissimus dorsi and thoracolumbar fasci, make up the human bodies stabilisation system, known as the posterior oblique sling. In order for your body to stay stable, your gluteus muscles must be strong and capable, otherwise the latissimus dorsi overcompensates. This results in the torso and shoulders being pulled out of their proper position and improper posture.
The muscles in the human body work together, predominantly in pairs. When one muscle in the pair contracts thus creating a movement, the other muscle relaxes. In order for the muscles to work together properly, they must be balanced or the body will compensate, such as the case of the glutes and hip flexors. If the hip flexors, as the antagonist muscle is stronger than your glutes then the pelvis can be pulled into an unnatural alignment. This is called the anterior pelvic tilt. This causes both pain and posture issues, with the potential of these becoming long term issues.
In order to improve or maintain your posture, glute muscle exercises are imperative. While squats are a popular and effective exercise, there is a large range of glute activating exercises such as; lunges, deadlifts, hip thrusts and step ups. Exercises such as these can be completed using body weight initially. Once this becomes easier weights or exercise bands can be used.
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