When we were young, our parents told us to sit up straight and not slouch. Those of us who didn’t obey may be suffering for it now.
Proper body alignment – how our body relates to itself when it’s moving, standing, or sitting – is integral to our overall physical wellbeing. The more we slouch, sit with poor posture, or move in a way that’s inconsistent with good alignment, the greater our risk for aches, pains, and even more severe health conditions that can develop over time.
Today, we’ll discuss the risks of poor posture and an abnormal gait and show you how you can improve your posture, alignment, and gait to support your long-term health.
The Risks of Poor Posture
When your body is out of alignment, it puts stress and pressure on the wrong parts of your body, creating the aches and pains that are so familiar after a long day slumping over your desk or a poor night’s sleep.
As you continue to go about your daily life with poor posture, your aches and pains will get worse, beginning in your back, neck, and shoulders. As time goes on, your flexibility may start to decrease, which can also affect your joints. This loss of flexibility may affect your balance and can lead to dangerous falls that put your mobility at risk.
How to Maintain Normal Posture
There are two types of posture to focus on – dynamic posture and static posture. Dynamic posture is how you hold your body when you’re in motion, like when you’re walking or running. Static posture focuses on your position when you’re sitting, standing still, or lying down.
The more you learn about the correct posture for standing, walking, sitting, and lying down, the easier it will be to train your muscles to operate this way without you having to think about it consciously.
Here are some tips to help you maintain a normal posture.
Study Normal Posture and Make Changes
Guides from organizations like the National Osteoporosis Foundation can help. The most important thing to remember is to engage your muscles and avoid slumping, leaning, or any other movement that forces your spine out of its natural arch. By studying diagrams and other professional resources, you can teach yourself how to put your body in the correct alignment.
Learning the correct posture is one thing, but being able to implement it daily is something else entirely. To help get your body used to operating in alignment, practice being more mindful.
Often, we’ll revert to lousy sitting habits and poor posture without noticing. The more you’re able to detect and gently self-correct, the faster your posture and walking gait will improve.
One of the most important things to remember when improving your posture is to avoid tension. When we’re stressed, it’s not uncommon to feel our shoulders, back or neck tensing up. In these moments, try to relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw, and gently move your body to release the tension.
Support Your Walking Gait with Shoes from Orthotics Direct
When you’re working to improve your posture, don’t neglect your feet. The place where your body connects with the ground is the basis for your body’s posture. If you’re concerned that your poor posture may be the result of a foot issue, contact your doctor and ask for a gait analysis. A gait analysis will help identify the root cause of any posture or gait issues.
Once you’ve gone through the gait analysis, your doctor may recommend custom orthotics to help support the long-term health of your feet and musculoskeletal system. You can find convenient and inexpensive options for the best custom orthotics at Orthotics Direct.