Why is Posture Important and What is ‘Good Posture’?

‘Prevention is better than the cure.’ It’s a mantra you will have heard many times!

This quote dates back to the 15th Century philosopher Erasmus, and it holds as much weight today as it did back then. Unfortunately there are so many events in our lives we simply cannot change; accidents, negligence of others, genetics…

One thing we can change is our posture and simple alterations can work wonders for our bodies. Posture is simply defined as a particular position of the body. It is such an important part of our health and how we present ourselves to the world. So many people unfortunately leave this to their unconscious and many people fall prey to bad habits such as;

  • Slouching.
  • Slumping of the shoulders.
  • Spine/neck bending or sinking forwards.
  • Sunken chest.
  • Eyes to the floor.
  • Looking down at phones/tablets/laptops.

Tips for Good Posture

Try to be aware of yourself when sitting, standing and laying down. Often your own awareness is the greatest tool you have in correcting these bad habits, and the benefits to your body and mind are huge.

Good posture creates the least amount of strain on your muscles and ligaments. You are constantly supporting your own body in it’s struggle against gravity, and over time this struggle can do damage. A strong posture will leave you feeling stronger, and will project a powerful presence to those around you. Good posture will help you breathe better, have less general wear and tear, and have reduced soreness.

When seated

Good sitting posture means that your back is straight and your buttocks are at the back of your chair. Keep your feet flat on the floor and bend your knees at a right angle. Your chair should have lower back support for your lumbar spine, if it doesn’t you can use a small cushion.

When Standing

When standing with good posture, you should be able to draw an imaginary straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee and the middle of your ankle. You can assess your standing posture by standing straight against a wall, there should only be a a few inches gap between your lower back curve and the wall, and your neck at the wall. If you feel like there are problems with your posture, a physio can check it for you.

Lying down

Weighing between 10-12 pounds, the average adult head must be carried over the spine in balance to avoid pain and discomfort in the neck and spine. This also a consideration when sleeping, make sure your pillow is firm and supports your neck, but isn’t propping it up at an angle. You may find it comfy to sleep with a small pillow in-between your knees (particularly if you’re a lady as you’ll have wider hips), to make sure your knees aren’t jutting inwards. Sleep on your back or side, never on your front and this will push your neck backwards.

Improving your posture should prevent problems as well as improve ones you already have. Some bad posture can be caused by natural biomechanics, injury, foot problems or other issues and you might find it helpful to get checked out by a physiotherapist.

Got A Question?

The Author

Lewis Payne

Lewis graduated from The University of Nottingham in 2013 with a First Class Honours in Physiotherapy, worked as Sheffield F.C.’s first team Physiotherapist, and now runs a leading-edge private clinic in Sheffield. With over ten years of experience, he specialises in manual therapy, advanced technological treatments, and exercise-based approaches, focusing on spinal and joint conditions, sports injuries, and specifically complex spinal issues like disc pathology and scoliosis. Lewis leads in IDD Therapy, performing over 6000 treatments, offers MRI referrals and reviews, and employs a holistic treatment philosophy viewing the body as a Tensegrity structure. He excels in postural analysis, soft tissue release techniques, and prescribes biomechanical corrective exercises to enhance natural movement.