Posture Training Health Benefits

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“To live a long, active energetic life, few things matter more than good posture” - American Journal of Pain Management.

How do I improve my bad posture?

Posture, whether good or bad, can have an amazing impact on our physical health and our sense of well-being. It is essential to a pain free life, general health and fitness. On a deep psychological level we link posture with age and aesthetics. Those that stand and walk upright score higher in our assessments of their age, health, and level of attractiveness.

Poor posture is a sign of infirmity and an early predictor of chronic pain. A 2011 study by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons stated: “Over 65 percent of upper body injuries, athletic and lifestyle related, come from repetitive overuse and poor posture.” The same study went on to say “Poor posture jeopardizes every sensory path.” Yet posture remains a secondary thought to the average gym goer. Most people spend hours trying to develop a six pack or large pectoral muscles, and barely any time on standing upright.

Massage therapists, fitness trainers, and physical therapists may not agree on everything. Yet, each one of these wellness disciplines has placed more and more emphasis on posture in physical assessments and treatments. The benefits of good posture can be seen beyond health, injury, and physical attraction. Researchers at Harvard Business School (HBS) and institutions around the world are doing some groundbreaking studies on how posture affects professional dynamics, negotiation, and sales. In a particularly interesting study Amy Cuddy, a professor at HBS, has determined that the physical act of standing upright can improve mental and physical performance almost instantaneously. [source: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are]

Causes of Bad Posture

Bad posture does not have one cause. Generally, it results from tightness in anterior muscles (e.g. Pectorals/Chest) relative to the strength of posterior muscles (e.g. Rhomboids and Mid Trapezius). It can be compounded with tight hip flexors, hamstrings, and a weak core. From teenagers to truck drivers, office workers to fitness fanatics, lifestyle elements can greatly contribute to bad posture.

bad sitting posture
Key Contributing Factors
  • Poor Training Methods
  • Extra body-weight
  • Habits (e.g. Sitting With Slouched Shoulders)
  • High heels
  • Poor Nutrition

Is Your Workout Hurting Your Posture?

A person that hits the gym multiple times per week can actively contribute to their posture problems. As we discussed earlier, tightness in anterior muscles relative to the weakness in the posterior muscles can cause bad posture. So if you are hitting the bench press hard but passing on upper body stretching and midback work you are actually making your posture worse.

Power and Strength.

Whether you are an athlete training to improve your sports performance or the average guy or gal looking to improve your overall strength, core training can work wonders for your performance benchmarks. Within the first 6 weeks of beginning a core training program, many respondents report vast improvements in their overall strength—not just their abdominal strength. One of the main core muscles (the Transverse Abdominis) activates milliseconds before we perform strength movement in the average healthy adult. When this muscle is activated, your body can both absorb and produce more power.

Bad Posture Health Issues

Lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder impingement issues, rotator cuff pain, and headaches are just a few of the ways poor posture can show up in your daily life. These issues can become chronic if not taken seriously. To sum it up, posture training is sexy, healthy, therapeutic, and good for your career. We highly recommend adding posture specific movements into your training routine. It may take some time to learn how to correctly strengthen your posture, but the rewards are well worth it. So next time you are working out, try not to skip the simple upper body stretches and mid back exercises.