Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies when we are standing, sitting, or lying down.
Optimal posture is where our muscles are able to hold our body and limbs during different positions and activities with as little strain and tension as possible.
You need strong, flexible, well-developed muscles to have good posture. Regular exercise, such as running, swimming, bike riding, clinical movement therapy, and playing different sports, will help to maintain your posture and keep your spine healthy.
It is important to have good posture in order to:
- Use your muscles and ligaments properly without increased strain or tension
- Make sure you don’t experience pain or fatigue
- Prevent long-term issues from developing
- Keep you looking great!
The more you continue to use your muscles in the correct way, the more the brain starts to learn to adopt these positions automatically. If you sit with poor posture all the time the brain will learn that this is normal.
“It is easier to maintain good postural habits in children than it is to fix the problems they cause in adulthood.”
General tips for good posture in children:
- Encourage physical activity and exercise!
- Limit prolonged sedentary positioning and encourage regular movement breaks/posture reversal. Long periods of sitting should be combined with different positions as prolonged positioning can cause shortening of muscle groups.
- Ensure that chairs and desks are the appropriate size and height (see posture in sitting)
- Ensure school backpacks are worn over both shoulders and that heavier items are packed close to the child’s back
- Help to build your child’s sense of self-confidence
Good posture in different positions:
- Sit with your bottom all the way to the back of the chair
- Make sure your feet are well supported on the floor
- Don’t cross your legs
- If you feel yourself becoming shorter through your spine sit up tall
- Have a movement break every thirty minutes
- Pull shoulders back and keep your chest forwards
- Tuck your tummy in
- Create length through your spine and stand tall
- Remember to continue to breathe normally
- Ask for help when lifting something heavy
- Always bend your knees
- Bring the object really close to your body
- Don’t lift over your head
If your child complains of back or neck pain that interferes with daily activities, has uneven posture, or is unable to stand up straight, consult your physiotherapist for more information on improving posture and exercise.
Our Juniors Clinical Movement Therapy classes can help to address these concerns and advise children on how to keep a healthy spine.