Standing is all about alignment. The more aligned you are, the easier it is on your body.
There are over 600 muscles and over 200 bones in the human body. Skeletal muscles are voluntary, which means you can control their movements. Since you can control their movements, you have the power to help align your body simply by being aware of your body or positioning yourself where you do not have to think about it, like sitting in a chair with low back support.
What is good and bad posture when standing?
· Keep the head in midline, on top of and in line with the shoulders
· Keep the chin tucked in
· Keep the shoulders relaxed, down and back
· Keep your bottom tucked in
· Keep our knees very slightly bent
· Keep your feet slightly apart, in line with the shoulders, and weight equally distributed between them
· Hold your head forward of the shoulders or to one side
· Poke or jut chin forward
· Hunch shoulders
· Stick your bottom out
· Lock your knees
· Stand with your weight on one leg more than the other
That sounds easy to do, right? Given our busy lives we sometimes lose track of body awareness. That is why it is important to practice certain movements throughout the day to help muscles reach proper alignment keeping them flexible and strong.
Rules for standing:
1. Do not lean over – keep your shoulders over your hips. This will ease tension on the low back. This is how you do that: stand against a wall with your buttocks, shoulder blades and head touching. Your neck and low back should not be touching. I know it feels funny, but it will get better with practice.
2. Try to keep your feet pointing forward, or better yet, pointed slightly in. This puts your hips in a slight internal rotation which helps with anterior pelvic tilt and low back issues. Try it.
3. Do not lock your knees. This leads to poor circulation as the weight of your body is now supported on your bones and not your muscles. When your muscles do not contract, they do not help push the blood back to your heart leading to pooling and inflammation in the lower extremities.
4. Be proud – sticking your chest out slightly pulls your shoulders back and down easing the tension on your neck and upper back. This is because a lot of the muscles of the neck and upper back are connected to your shoulder blades. When they are pulled forward, it stresses the neck and upper back.
5. Think light – try to touch the top of the head to the ceiling. This will elongate and pull the head back which helps with tension across the back of the neck and shoulders.