Does Posture Really Matter?
No matter where you are searching on the internet for information, you can find conflicting information on just about anything. Recently my husband and I have found ourselves doing a lot of “internet research” on different baby products as we are preparing for our son to arrive in November. The only thing we’ve really learned is that we should have no idea what to expect until he is actually here and we try things out! Every mom and dad have different opinions on the best products, the best way to make adjustments to a new baby in your life, sleep training, etc.
As a Physical Therapist, my instagram feed is full of fitness experts and other medical professionals. I realize this isn’t what most people are scrolling through all day, but I love to learn from and be inspired by my colleagues in the health and wellness space. There are of course some differences of opinion among experts, just like there are in any field. One topic I’ve seen come up more recently is a debate on whether the posture we all view as being “proper posture” is really what we should be focused on achieving.
Some will argue that there has been too much emphasis on proper posture, while others still feel that sitting upright with the shoulders back is the best way. So what’s our opinion on this topic? To put it simply - any posture is bad posture if you are in it for too long. It is OK if you slump forward, but will you experience pain in your neck and/or back if you sit that way on your phone for 60 minutes straight? Most likely, yes. Our bodies are made to move, so whether you are sitting at a computer with all of the ergonomic gadgets and the “perfect, proper posture” or you are slumped forward, if you are there for too long you will develop discomfort.
So what about standing desks? Is it better than a sitting desk? Well, yes and no. Prolonged sitting can affect your mobility and there have been studies to show that it can be detrimental to overall health, so we certainly like the idea of standing throughout the work day. However, standing in one place can also cause problems if you are there too long and aren’t used to standing for that long. If you are used to sitting for an 8 hour work shift, then transition to standing for your 8 hour work shift instead, it is very likely you may develop pain in your back, hips, knees, feet, etc.
If you work at a desk job, are a student, or sit for other tasks and hobbies (looking at our friends who love to read and knit!), our best advice is to remember to MOVE. Try to stand up and walk around at least every 30-60 min for at least a minute or two if possible. Do some stretching and mobility movements before work, over lunch, and/or after work to counteract the position you have been in most (for example, if you are slumped forward, do some extension exercises). Go for a walk at lunch if you are able.
Does posture matter? It definitely does, but the key is to avoid any posture for too long!
Questions or want to discuss further? Shoot us an email at email@example.com