Four Myths About Good Posture

At some point in our youth, a parent, teacher, or other superior is bound to scold us about our poor posture.

“Stand up straight!”

“Don’t hunch!”

“No slouching!”

Followed by the inevitable jump and according self-fix, we then associate “good posture” with just that: straight back, no hunched shoulders, tight core.

But the more you try to maintain it, the more you realize that it’s nothing but an irrational end goal-- to “someday” be able to hold this idea of perfect posture with perfect comfortability.

But posture isn’t supposed to make you feel uncomfortable. Usually, the “perfect posture” you remember the grown-ups telling you about is simply a posture for posturing.

That’s right-- it’s just a pose based on notions of "what good posture should look like" that are based more on myth than fact. Here are some of the commonly-held myths regarding “perfect posture.”

Good standing or sitting posture needs to be straight

This advice does NOT teach anyone proper body alignment or help avoid injury. If it did, we would all be perfectly symmetrical-- but we’ve had it beaten into us so often since youth, we often consider it a position we should emulate. When we think "straight" means “proper alignment,” we place ourselves in a fixed position. Truth be told, optimal posture is dynamic-- not fixed-- to give us the ability to move in any direction without needing to adjust our bodies.

Good posture is hard to achieve or maintain

Do you notice how children just stay completely straight and robotic when they engage in daily activities? Neither does anyone. They wiggle, move, fidget. In short, their posture is very fluid. The reason for this is because it takes increased effort to remain in a fixed, static position. Furthermore, proper adult posture doesn't require more effort, but less-- and you shouldn’t have to work hard to hold it. "Good posture emerges as a by-product of fluid, aware movement, rather than something to be achieved through effortful striving," says Feldenkrais Practitioner Ralph Strauch, Ph.D.

Good posture means never slumping

If you never flexed your body into a slump, you’d never get to enjoy your body’s full range of motion. Don’t limit your body's ability to twist, move, and curl in certain ways; slumping employs this full range of motion, allowing you to move fluidly throughout the day while remaining comfortable in your body’s natural twists and turns.

There are only two types of posture: good and bad

A key problem with modern-day posture beliefs is that it’s usually about being stuck in ONE position, one that is frustratingly uncomfortable and unnatural. Irrational fears of "bad" posture lead many people to lock their body in their misconstrued ideal of what "good" posture looks like, often avoiding movement entirely. Posture needs to be considered “efficient” or “inefficient;” not “good” or “bad.” Efficient posture allows us to shift spontaneously and exert our full range of motion in any direction, but inefficient posture allows us none of these privileges.

 

Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.

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