Q: Is posture really that important?
A: Yes, your mother was right; posture is extremely important. Your posture is an indicator of your overall health. In many cases, headaches, back pain, breathing problems, balance issues, tight shoulder muscles, tight leg muscles, and even plantar fasciitis can be attributed, at least partly, to poor posture.
You can check your posture yourself. Take two photos of yourself, capturing your entire standing body—one shot from the front, and one from the side. When looking at the front-facing photo, check whether your eyes are level, as well as your ears and hips. When looking at the photo taken of yourself from the side, check that your ear canal is directly over the middle of your shoulder, which should be directly over the middle of your hip, which should be directly over the bump on the outside of your ankle.
Abnormal posture is one of the most commonly undiagnosed problems. Based on today’s fast-paced, yet sedentary, lifestyle, it can be difficult to maintain proper posture. Habits that form early on while watching television, learning to drive, using a computer, or even playing video games can have long-lasting negative effects on your posture.
Fortunately, posture can always be improved, and can often be corrected. Most postural abnormalities involve a group of muscles that are too tight and a group of opposing muscles that are too stretched. A number of chiropractors, physical therapists, and other doctors are trained in recognizing and correcting these patterns. Ask your doctor about specific stretches and strengthening activities that can help you improve your posture.