Why Can't We All Just Stand Up Straight?

We have all be told we should stand up straight and use good posture but why don’t we? Is it really that easy? The answer is not as straight forward as you might expect, and good posture is not as easy as just stand up straight.

First of all, to have good posture you need 3 things:

1. To be able to get to straight

  • Have you checked to see if you can actually get all the way straight?
  • Try standing with your back flat on the wall and feet away from the wall, starting with your low back on the wall and roll your spine all along the wall and then pulling your head straight back
  • You can’t arch your back to get your head to the wall

2. Know where straight is

Again it sounds obvious but often where straight is and where we think it is are not always the same place

Now as you step off the wall you want to have:

  • Your hips over your ankles.
  • A small curve in your low back.
  • Your shoulders over your hips.
  • Your ears over your shoulders, all in a straight line.

3. Have the strength to hold your position

  • Getting to straight is one thing, holding that position for the next 8-12 hours is entirely another.
  • Build up your back strength doing exercises like rows

If you can’t get to straight, you will need to stretch or increase your back mobility until you can get to straight. For example:

If you have trouble putting all the pieces together for finding straight, you may need to use a mirror, or find a PT who can help show you how to stand.

If you have trouble holding the position, a strength program with the right mechanics can go a long way to improving this.

With all of these a PT can be invaluable to learn how to do it correctly or which exercises are going to work for your problem.