Posture. Good? Bad? Somewhere in between? How do we measure posture in The Moballise Physiotherapy Clinic? We start by asking – what IS posture?!
Interestingly, your feet have ‘posture’. So, too, do your hands. You can see it quite easily. Take off your shoes and socks. Rest your foot on the surface of your choosing. Now look. Just look at your foot. Note the arch or lack thereof. Note the contour along the top of your foot. Now stand up. Do you see the shape of your foot change? take a few steps, watching your foot move. It is constantly changing shape when you move. Try the same thing with your hands. rest them on a surface. Palm up, palm down. make a fist and stretch out your fingers.
Posture comes in two varieties. No, not good and bad. They are called static and dynamic. Static posture is defined as without movement and dynamic posture is defined as with movement. It is as simple as that. without the arrangement of bones, ligaments, joints and muscles your foot or hand would fall flat when you rest it. And yet it stays in that weird, curled up shape. Why? Static posture.
Static posture can also come in two varieties. Active and passive. If you have ever rested your bare, naked foot on the floor and let it flop, you will see a beautiful demonstration of static, passive posture. There is no muscular work required to maintain the position. This could also be referred to as your resting posture. Compare this to when you standstill. There is still no movement, so this is a static posture. There is, however, an enormous amount of muscular work involved in balancing your tall, heavy body on that foot without you tumbling to the ground. This then is called active static posture.
Dynamic posture is always active. This is because dynamic posture describes movement. Movement requires repetitive and consistent muscular contraction and relaxation.
When you are taking those few steps and looking at your foot posture, you are employing all kinds of muscles to maintain and release the posture of your foot so that it can both stabilise you and mould itself to the terrain you are walking upon.
Is there a good or bad posture? Which is best? Static or dynamic posture? Active or passive? Those with knowledge used to talk about perfect alignment and ideal posture. This is becoming an increasingly neglected thought process, especially in clinical assessment. The hot topic when regarding posture as good or bad is usually workplace-related musculoskeletal disorders, especially related to your spine. Are you sitting correctly? Well, a more accurate question would be,
“How long are you going to sit like that for?”
Your body is designed to move. That is why you have hundreds of joints throughout your body. Refusing your body the movement it was designed for is the worst posture you can adopt. Especially for prolonged periods. it makes no difference whether you are standing, sitting, driving or working. Immobility is the enemy. In offices up and down the country, people call this ‘spinal damage at zero miles per hour’.
Is there a good or bad posture? No. Support your posture by all means. Beyond that, though. Move. It is what your body was made to do and it does it beautifully the more you do it. If you ever feel uncomfortable – move.
Move from an uncomfortable posture into a more comfortable posture. And keep doing it. All of the time.