The very definition of posture means to put or place. Optimal posture requires learning to position the body in which the least amount of stress and strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during sitting, standing, moving, lying and weight bearing exercise. Alignment refers to the relationship between the different body parts. Think about dropping an imaginary plumb line from your earlobes, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. Ideally, you want these cue points to line up.
Bad posture is a lot worse for you than you may realize. Studies have revealed an association with bad posture to breathing problems, falls, depression, joint and disc degeneration, nerve compression and a decreased quality of life! Those are serious health complications that can be avoided.
Common contributors of poor posture include: weak muscles, tight muscles, prolonged static positions, high-heeled shoes (greater than 2"), having flat feet, internal or external rotation (pigeon toed or duck walk) of the feet, excess bodyweight, carrying a heavy bag repeatedly over one shoulder, falling asleep in wrong or funny positions, etc.
Do your best to avoid prolonged static positions and do a self-analysis check regularly throughout your day. Good posture can enhance your health and provide you with increased energy and stamina, improved circulation, better breathing, a taller and slimmer looking you, and assist in having greater confidence. Don't underestimate the seemingly small things of our everyday lives like posture, as they really do amount to a lot over the long run. Be sure to read our article written by Susan entitled, ‘The Everyday Overlooked Abdominal Workout,’ which illustrates the importance of posture as it pertains to abdominal training.