Standing and Seated Posture

Standing Posture

Standing and seated postures are positions that we spend a lot of time in - they are the foundation postures for most daily activities. Based on the principal that what we do the most has the greatest effect on our body, we should:

  • be aware of what good standing and seated posture are
  • have the mobility, strength and endurance to maintain them

The picture on the left shows ideal standing posture. The vertical plumb line is lined up with the front of the anklebone. The middle of the knee, hip, shoulder and ear also line up with the vertical line. For many people this is something that they will have problems achieving immediately, but with awareness and the right exercises they will be moving towards ideal posture, rather than away from it.

Once the body is out of ideal posture the force of gravity will be harder to resist and muscles will have to work much harder than in a body that is in good posture. Poor posture also creates a whole host of other problems such as an altered breathing pattern, reduced detoxification, increased pressure on internal organs and the passage of food through the digestive tract, reduced cardiovascular efficiency and increased forces on joints, muscles and ligaments. Compare the same person in good posture to poor posture - which is more attractive?!

Sitting Posture

The pictures on the right show first poor seated posture, followed by ideal seated posture. The cogs show how in good posture everything lines up and can work correctly. This ultimately puts less strain on all the systems of the body - both mechanical and metabolic.

In Pilates we use the cue of having a string or thread coming out of the crown on the head that pulls you up to the ceiling - opposing the force of gravity. If you can use this visualization in both standing and seated posture you will start to use the body in better alignment. Initially you may find that you tire quickly and your muscles ache, but once you have been aware and using better posture for a while this will go and you will find improved posture comes more easily.

If you are restricted by a lack of mobility or short, tight muscles there are mobilizations, stretches and exercises that can be prescribed to help you move in the right direction. Please speak to me if you want to know more.