Do you have pains in your back, knees, ankles or the rest of your body? Your posture could be responsible. Experts have said that a lot of skeletal and muscular pains are caused by imbalances arising from individuals’ postures.
According to Oyinkan Talabi, a balance coach at Body Works, in Lekki, Lagos, the posture, which is how the body structurally integrates as one system, is very important. She said, “A lot of skeletal and muscular pains that we have are caused by imbalances from how we carry our bodies and this can be realigned just by correcting our posture. Your body is designed to be balanced and any imbalance will show up as pain. Part of the fascinating beauty of the human machine is that it always finds a way to balance itself.
“If you constantly lean more on your right leg or round out your back, your muscles and skeleton start to mould into that shape and redistribute the weight in a bid to keep the balance of the body. This results in the muscles becoming shorter and tighter in some areas. It could also result in over-stretched muscles in other areas, including generally weak and tight muscles, which always come with pain and a deformed skeleton.”
How do you know if your posture is good? Try this simple test.
The Mirror Test
(Front view) Stand facing a full-length mirror and check to see if:
1. Your shoulders are level
2. Your head is straight
3. The spaces between your arms and sides seem equal
4. Your hips are level, your kneecaps face straight ahead
5. Your ankles are straight.
(Side View) This is much easier to do with the help of another person or by taking a photograph. Check for the following:
1. Head is erect, not slumping forward or backwards
2. Chin is parallel to the floor, not tilting up or down
3. Shoulders are in line with ears, not drooping forward or pulled back
4. Stomach is flat
5. Knees are straight
6. Lower back has a slightly forward curve (not too flat or not curved too much forward, creating a hollow back).
What does the perfect posture look like? The perfect standing posture is when the following are properly aligned – the points between your eyes, chin, collarbone, breastbone, pubic area and midpoint between your ankles. From the side, you can easily see the three natural curves in your back. From the front, your shoulders, hips and knees are of equal height. Your head is held straight, not tilted or turned to one side. From the back, the little bumps on your spine should be in a straight line down the centre of your back.
Focus on trying to naturally assume a relaxed standing posture with your weight spread evenly on your feet, you will find that carrying yourself in a more balanced position puts less stress on your joints