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Good Posture Comes From Your Brain, Not Your Muscles

Ok. I admit that when I heard this statement I was not convinced. How does your brain control your posture if it’s your muscles are responsible for keeping your spine stable?
Well, in this blog we’re going to be talking about just that.

Our muscles are subject to our brain and nerves. Meaning that, whatever our brain tells our muscles, through the nerves, that’s how the muscle will react. Makes sense, right?
Well, our brain has this area which controls our muscles of our spine. This area is used to tell our spinal muscles how much to contract, so they can stabilise our spine while we are moving. This prevents our joints, ligaments and nerve tissue from getting damaged when we are moving.
These are our same muscles that keep our posture upright. The most interesting thing is that if this pathway doesn’t function properly and provide enough information to your postural muscles, then our posture adopts a slouched position. Crazy! That means that regardless of how big our muscles are, if this pathway doesn’t function properly, we start slouching!

This pathway is called the post medulla reticular formation. Relax, you don’t need to remember that name, there is no test afterwards. But it’s important to understand that this part of your brain supplies the muscle fibres which controls how often and how much our postural muscles contract. It makes sense to ensure that this area is always stimulated and working properly.

Now if we take into consideration that poor posture is associated with poor health, and our brain controls our posture. Then does it make sense that having healthy brain function results in being healthy?
There are biomechanical benefits as well. A spine which has adapted to an unhealthy posture, will wear faster and become more susceptible to the effects of natural ageing that happens to our joints. Poor posture = faster degenerative changes or osteoarthritis in our spine.

So be kind to your brain. Feed it the right habits and do things to exercise it.
In our next blog, we’ll talk about ways you can directly stimulate and exercise this posture pathway of the brain and ensure it stays functional over a lifetime!


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