Here is quick video on standing posture

Published on March 15, 2014 by

For video, click on link:  Standing Posture!

Of course, just standing is not the magic bullet to fix all seating ills.  And while changing posture regularly is good, we want to switch from one good posture to the next good posture.

So, what is good standing posture?

Well, when seated our lower backs tend toward flexion – being too flat.  When standing, we have the opposite challenge - our lower backs are too curved in extension.   That is one reason it feels so good to change from one posture to the other.  Alternating parts of our bodies are loaded and rested.

When I teach on seated posture, the goal is often making seated posture more like standing.  For standing, the goal is to create body angles closer to sitting.  True neutral is almost exactly half way in between!

How do we accomplish that?  To reduce the arch in our lower back when standing we need to find a way to tip the top of the pelvis back.  Note what happens to your pelvic tilt when you place one foot on a support about 6 inches high while standing.  As you have a slightly more closed angle between the thigh and the torso, it becomes easier to tip the pelvis back and maintain a more neutral lower back.  When the lower back is neutral and upright, it becomes easier to keep the whole spinal column neutral.

Therapists and ergonomists have been recommending using such a foot support for generations.  Just check out the foot rail at the next bar you visit…

However, this solution also has its downsides.  First, since we all have a preferred leg to raise, we tend to stand asymmetrically more on one side than the other, creating imbalances.  Further, I have often observed myself and others tending to lock the knee of the “straight” leg.  NEVER lock your knees while standing.  Locked knees are a recipe for disaster for the long term health of the knee joint.  If standing with both knees locked, the hips are also immobilized and the lower back is thrown into extension.

A better solution for standing requires more body awareness and core control.  The trick is to stand balanced with your feet fully engaged (use your toes too!) about hip width apart, knees very slightly bent so there are constant micro adjustments that keep synovial fluid and blood flowing, and then leaning to tip the pelvis back while keeping the ears, shoulders, hips and feet aligned.  One of the benefits of an "anti-fatigue mat" is that the instability created by standing on the soft surface helps make this technique easier and feel more natural.

The mats are available in a wide variety of sizes.  I recommend one that is big enough to cover the immediate area of standing, but not so large that it isn’t easy to pick up and set aside when not wanted.  I like the 16x28 standing mats by Working Concepts .  They are available localy in Anchorage at Alaska Safety.

This maneuver will require conscious control at first.  As your body re-learns how to stand, it will become “second nature”.  You may even find you feel more energized.

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