Posture- Sit Up Straight Already- But WHY?: Gina Pongetti, MPT, MS, BS, CSCS, ART-Cert

Posted 4/17/2015 in Physical Therapy Corner | 2090 view(s) | 0 comment(s)

Posture- Sit Up Straight Already- But WHY?
Gina Pongetti, MPT, MS, BS, CSCS, ART-Cert
Achieve Sports Medicine Owner
Biomechanics Specialist

Posture is so very important for growth, daily living, performance, appearance and injury prevention.  Poor posture can make you look less confident as well as less strong, due to the forward shoulders, head down, and rounded upper back positions that result.  So, why does this happen?

There are 8 main reasons:
1) a lack of attention to standing up straight from the child themselves, the adult themselves, or parents of the children not making it as important as it should be
2) new found body changes,such as being taller than peers, females developing early, shyness, are all examples.
3) a lack of strength in the posture muscles due to not working them and a lack of strength
4) a lack of endurance in the muscles, which you get from maintaining good posture,
5) poor shoulder and chest flexibility from being rounded forward for so long, the muscles adaptively shorten
6) Current youth and adult lifestyle. Children in school sit in desks that are not comfortable, or ergonomically correct. As children get taller, it is worse. One has to round forward to take notes, to read, to look at papers. As adults, we often slump and sit poorly at our desks at work as well, or purely sit too much. When studying, children often are in soft couches as opposed to desks and tables with supportive chairs
7) Add in current technology, including phones, iPads, Kindles, smaller computers, and more. We are on them more and more, and functioning complete usinesses on them (as opposed to years ago when they were adjuncts to computers). According to a huge research study by Kaiser Family Foundation, teenagers are spending more than 7.5 hours each day, in increments, on electronic devices (TV, mobile devices, music, computer, TV, etc) as opposed to an hour and 20 minutes in 1999. Wow. Just wow
8) Some genetic conditions, such as scoliosis (although side to side curve), leads to poor upper back and shoulder posture. There are degenerative spine conditions of the disks and bones, too, but this is very rarely the case.
Whew. Lots of reasons why, so no matter which category or categories that you fall into, let s learn how to make yours better, and how to prevent others from being anything less than perfect (Pic 1)
1. Mirror view. Simply stand straight up, not too arched, not hunched forward. If you have someone take a picture of your from the side, your ear, shoulder, hip, and knee should line up vertically, without your head being too far forward or your shoulder rounded back.
2. Mid back Strength. Lay on stomach, and do a variation of Superman. You are going to lift your arms only, keeping your head down. This focuses on upper back, and not your lower 3. Endurance. Sit, with a bar over your head, weighted or not. You can use a broomstick too if you want to Then… you just sit there with your legs straight out, as long as your can, reaching up high, like an “L”. Don t hunch, or you re your knees. Goal: 3 minutes
4. Arm circles. The stronger your upper shoulders, the less you will hunch them, and the easier it is to be upright and hold them up life activities Grab light weights (1P3lbs, or soup cans) and hold them out to the side or overhead. Circle, small, in each direction (front/back, or in/out).
5. Stretch out the upper back. Use a foam roller or Grid roller, and lay over it, horizontal, from bra line to lower neck. Keep butt down on the ground, reach arms overhead, trying to keep elbow straight and touch hands to the ground
6. Scap squeeze. Lay over a large exercise ball. Place arms straight out to the side, elbows straight. Thumbs up to the ceiling, drop them down to the ground, and then lift them up slightly past even with the body. Squeeze your shoulder blade muscles together as your do this, but don t shrug your shoulders at all. You can add small weights (1P3lbs, or a soup can.) Try 3 sets of 8 challenging, or 1P2 max sets of 15P20 lighter weights.
So, here is why you should fix your posture (Bonus benefits )

1) Standing with good posture leads to the unspoken (nonPverbal) communication of confidence. Studies have also shown that it leads to people assuming a higher intelligence and confidence as well. HmmmmP may it help you get a job, a deal, even a date?

2) If you are an athlete, and you have a more vertical spine position, technically your throwing can be harder, tennis strokes with more power, volleyball hits with more force, gymnastics handstand blocks greater and so many more. The point is, when the spine is vertical and “Stacked,” it is happy, more stable, and can allow the arms and shoulders to produce more power. So, kidsP even if you are tired of your parents telling you to stand up straight, do it for your team…!

3) Haven t you always wanted to be taller? Reason in and of itself…

4) Shoulder pain and impingement in active populations has been directly linked to poor posture. If you round your back forward, you shoulder cave in as well, your chest rounds, your head then has to stuck forward, and now you extend your neck just to be able to look up. Whew. So, as a result, when you lift your arms, the tendons and ligaments of the shoulder get pinched in the joint and under the collar bone, leading to tendinitis, impingement, and often (over time) a preexisting factor to rotator cuff injuries.
5) Headaches? Yep. They come directly from posture. As in the above example, the neck muscles work so hard just to hold the head up, and those muscles attach at the base of the skull. They put too much tension there, making nerves aggravated as well as the bones not being vertically aligned (so nerves are not happy, again) and muscles are tense.


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