When I was a boy, I was often reminded by my mum to stand up straight and to not drag my feet when I walked. It seemed like nagging at the time, but I’m genuinely grateful for the way that it led me to develop the habits of standing and walking correctly.
These two things are really important to our health and well-being. Good posture helps you avoid the muscle and joint problems that can arise as a result of slouching. For a start, our heads are quite heavy objects, and normally this weight is offset when we stand straight because it rests naturally on the spine. However, as soon as we slouch, our heads are no longer balanced correctly and so have to be stabilised by the muscles in our neck, shoulders and spine. Not surprisingly, those muscles soon get tired and strained as a result and begin to ache, sometimes also causing referred pains such as headaches. Similar reasons exist for walking properly too.
The way we walk affects the mechanics of our whole body. If we walk without using the muscles in our feet and legs properly, the knock-on effect on our pelvis, spine, shoulders, neck and head can cause a variety of aches and pains, and can even lead to headaches. I have seen a number of clients whose headaches have been caused by foot problems – much to their surprise.
This is one reason why I observe how my clients walk and stand. Our posture and gait also influence our mood: when we stand straight, walk properly and look forward it’s much easier to feel confident and positive than when slouching and shuffling along.
So good posture benefits both our physical and our mental health. Mum was right to get me to develop the habit of standing and walking well. It’s a habit that is worth remembering – or even developing - at any age so as to avoid and correct related problems.
I offer specialised physical therapies including massage and myofascial release work in Leicestershire. Contact me to discover how I might help you improve your mobility and decrease stiffness and pain.