Published on July 13, 2022

Maintaining Good Posture

Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down. Good posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. Without posture and the muscles that control it, we would simply fall to the ground. Normally, we don’t consciously maintain normal posture. Instead, certain muscles do it for us, and we don’t have to think about it. Several muscle groups, including the large back muscles, are critically important in maintaining good posture. While the ligaments help to hold the skeleton together, these postural muscles, when functioning properly, prevent the forces of gravity from pushing us over. Postural muscles also maintain our posture and balance during movement.

Correct posture:

  • Helps us keep bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly.
  • Reduces stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, minimizing the likelihood of injury.
  • Allows muscles to work efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy and helps prevent muscle fatigue.
  • Helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back and muscular pain.

To maintain good posture you need to have adequate muscle flexibility and strength. Poor posture can lead to excessive strain on our postural muscles and may even cause them to relax, when held in certain positions for long periods of time. Several factors contribute to poor posture including stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, and abnormally tight muscles. In addition, decreased flexibility, incorrect working posture, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits can also contribute to poor body positioning.

How do I sit properly? 
  • Keep your feet on the floor or on a footrest if they don’t reach the floor.
  • Don’t cross your legs. Your ankles should be in front of your knees.
  • Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
  • Your knees should be at the level of your hips.
  • Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your low and mid back or use a back support.
  • Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground.
  • Avoid sitting in the same position for prolonged periods. Adjust position every 10-15 minutes.
How do I stand properly?
  • Bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent.
  • Keep your feet about shoulder width apart.
  • Let your arms hang naturally down by the sides of your body.
  • Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled backward.
  • Tuck in your stomach.
What is the proper lying position?
  • Find the mattress that is right for you.
  • Sleep with a pillow.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
  • Sleeping on your side or back is more often helpful for back pain.
  • If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs. If you sleep on your back, keep a pillow under your knees.