Posture refers to the position of the body. More specifically, posture refers to the way your muscles, joints, and skeleton work together to keep your body upright. Proper posture keeps the spine properly aligned with the hips and head. It can also reduce the severity of injuries sustained in auto accidents, by maintaining a proper distribution of weight and providing support and strength to the body. Posture affects breathing, muscle growth, and range of motion.
Tips for Better Posture
When sitting, your posture should be as neutral as possible. Ensure your back is properly supported, so you are sitting with a straight spine. Place your tailbone as close to the back of the seat as possible. Adjust your seat so that your knees rest slightly lower than your hips; make sure your pelvis is not leaning forward or backward. Your head should be in a neutral position, keeping the chin up, without craning your neck forward.
Vehicular Seating Position
When in a vehicle, you should adjust your seat prior to driving. Do not place your seat too close to the dashboard. The driver should maintain at least 10-inches between themselves and the steering wheel. You should still be able to comfortably reach the steering wheel and rest your elbows at your sides. Drivers should also position their seat so they can see at least 3-inches above the steering wheel. However, your head should not be close to the ceiling of the vehicle.
Lean your seat back slightly; but do not lean it too far back, as this could push your head and neck forward, resulting in shoulder pain. The center of your headrest should be positioned so that it comes into contact with your occipital lobe (the rear of the skull). Do not allow the headrest to make contact with your neck. In the case of an accident, this will increase the severity of whiplash, and may even result in a broken neck as your head is forced back. Furthermore, you should not sit with an object, such as a wallet, in your back pocket. This can cause your pelvis to twist, resulting in back pain.
Why Good Posture is Important
If your muscles are out of proper alignment, they will have to work harder to accomplish the same tasks. This can lead to soft tissue injuries and puts unnecessary strain on your joints. Good posture will also provide better protection for your internal organs. Slouching may cause your internal organs to crowd together. This can negatively impact your body’s regulatory functions, i.e. breathing, and digesting, and can stifle muscle growth. Furthermore, your body will be more susceptible to damage if your body sustains a serious blow. With crowded organs, your body’s impact absorption will not work as effectively, causing you to sustain greater injuries. Additionally, bad posture can change the curvature of your spine, and neck, and can change the position of your hips, head, and shoulders, resulting in pain.