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What is posture? How does posture affect my shoulders?

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

I hear “I have bad posture” on a daily basis. I’ve found that the idea of “bad posture” has been misconstrued and is talked about as if nothing can be done. The first point of confusion when it comes to posture is that it is thought of as a static position (“stand up straight with your shoulders back”). This doesn’t align in with the fact that the most important thing for our joints is movement. The issue with our posture can be found by looking at the positions we put ourselves in and for how long you’re in those positions. The common position of forward shoulders and a rounded upper back while on computers and cell phones isn’t inherently bad. It’s the fact that we stay in this position for many hours and lack the endurance and stability to maintain the posture. So how can you start working on this? It is essential to change positions throughout the day and avoid maintaining one position for more than 30 minutes at a time.

We need to strengthen the stabilizing scapular muscles (muscles around the shoulder blade) and ensure they have the endurance to keep our shoulders back. With a basic understanding of your joint anatomy, you are able to identify movements to relieve your overstressed tissues. For example, we know that our shoulders will tend to be too far forward in a modern environment. So, we will want to stretch the front of the joint (tight chest muscles) and build stability in the muscles on the back. Addressing each of these factors will improve your daily experience and create longevity in your joints.

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