Types of Body Posture

By Kevin Blankinship

Body posture is a relatively small and simple aspect of the human body that can have a major impact on overall health and wellness. Posture is how a person holds his or her body upright, whether sitting, standing, or lying down. Posture is important when considering things like lung capacity, health of the joints, and back-muscle strength. Knowledge of different types of body posture can help you evaluate your own posture.

Normal

t's difficult to define what "normal" or "correct" posture is "See Reference 1." People come in all shapes and sizes, and their spines will conform accordingly. However, some general guidelines do exist. For example, shoulders should be held back midway between the chest and back. The head should also be held erect, as opposed to allowed to droop forward. The back should be straight, though not arched excessively, with the buttocks protruding slightly.

Slouch

Slouching is common among the general population, with 20% of men and 15% of women slouching to some degree "See Reference 2." The official clinical name is "kypholordosis," which refers to the combination of a hunched back and the head straining forward. The shoulders are also rounded forward, which decreases lung capacity over time. This posture is common in people who work long hours at an office, spending their time hunched over at a computer "See Reference 3."

Stooping or Swayback

People who stoop tend to put a lot of their weight on their lower back, which can lead to back pain in the long run. In this posture, the hips are swayed forward in relation to the feet, with the back and shoulders leaning back. The knees are very straight, even hyperextended, and the head cranes forward. Stooped or swayback posture is common in young people, especially teenagers, as well as people who stand for prolonged periods of time.

Erect

Although good posture means standing erect in relation to gravity, overcompensation may occur. In an overly erect posture, the lower back is arched excessively forward, with the shoulders pulled back and the chest pushed out. The buttocks also protrude to an extreme degree.

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