As children we were always told by our parents to ‘stand up straight’. Many of us can probably still hear those nagging words in our heads. These days the whole concept about posture has changed and definitely for the better.
The reality of posture is that it’s unrealistic to expect people to maintain ‘perfect’ posture all the time. The current point of view is that ‘posture should be dynamic’. There’s nothing inherently dangerous or wrong with being in conventionally ‘poor’ or slouched postures as long as they’re not for excessively prolonged periods. Simply put, your ‘best posture’ is your next one!
Dynamic and Change is Key
Let me highlight and elaborate further on the two most important key points:
- Don’t be too long in the same position.
Dynamic implies change, movement, variation or basically something different.
Self-correction is a term we use often with patients in the clinic. That means change the position that you are in often, or the way that you are doing a task.
Example: If you are an officer worker self-correct or self-check your sitting position often during the day.
The ‘not so ideal’ posture is okay as long as it’s not for too long. Of course, staying too long in the same posture may eventually hurt, so set a timer on your phone so that you change your posture often. Simple things like getting up from your chair at least every 30 minutes or taking regular work breaks are really effective. Go and do a completely different task for a while. Just move. Remember the key point here is poor posture is okay for only short periods of time, then you must self-correct and change it up.
No Such Thing as “Bad” Posture
At Power Physiotherapy we no longer use the words ‘bad posture’. There’s no such thing as ‘bad posture’. It might not be ‘ideal posture’, but it’s certainly not bad.
In the clinic we often hear patients labelling themselves as having ‘bad posture’ and blame all their symptoms on this. The term creates such a negative way of thinking. Patients often feel like they have no hope of recovery because they have ‘bad posture’. Some patients feel so upset about their posture that they think they are stuck like that for life with no chance of improvement.
That’s not the case at all. At Power Physiotherapy we firmly believe in encouragement, positive mindset, and realistic goals. Yes posture may have a part to play in a patient’s overall health and symptoms, but it cannot be the only focus. Other things to consider are general health issues, stress at home or at work, inactivity, the type of work or study, plus many more factors. During our assessment we explore all the things that could be impacting negatively on posture.
It’s not enough just to talk about posture, we all need strategies (especially easy ones).
Here are 10 tips to help you get started on your journey to ‘ideal posture’.
- See your doctor first if you are concerned about any serious health issues.
- Make an appointment with your Physiotherapist for a musculoskeletal examination.
- Stop using the phrase ‘bad posture’. Maybe try the words ‘not so ideal posture’.
- Explore how your can change your mindset, knowing that posture can be helped and changed.
- Remind yourself often that posture is dynamic.
- Set your timer to remind yourself to move often.
- Review your workplace setup and check if your desk and chair are suitable for you.
- Don’t be too scared to check your posture in the mirror: body self-awareness is important to assist change.
- Create easy goals to help remind you about posture at work and at home.
- Ask friends and family to help prompt you with posture correction, in a kind supportive way.
If you are struggling with your posture and you don’t even know where to start to make changes, then you need to see the Physiotherapists at Power Physiotherapy. We are experienced in managing postural issues and talk about it daily with all of our patients for their own unique situation.
There are so many misconceptions associated with ‘good and bad posture’ but together we are here to help you work through those thoughts and achieve your goals.
Always remember that your BEST posture is your NEXT posture.