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When I am standing or walking, and thinking about something other than my posture, I exhibit a bit of lumbar hyperlordosis, a fair amount of thoracic kyphosis and a bit of forward head (both my professional and avocational pursuits involve computer use).

For about 18 months I have been working out regularly and working on stretching the hip flexors, strengthening the core, the glutes, rows, etc.

When I look in the mirror, I can engage the abdominus rectus, thrust a bit with the glutes, and put my chest up and I see a very good-looking posture. However, when I am not thinking about it (which is 99% of the time) I regress.

I do have a standing/sitting (up/down) desk, but when I stand and I engage in a good posture consciously, then return to my work. Invariably some time later I notice that I have allowed my belly to protrude and am resting a bunch of weight on my lumbar spine. I then correct it.

In general, I find it easier to identify good vs. bad posture when standing vs. sitting, and when I am standing I can imitate a person who has good posture for brief periods of time. But when I am sitting, I am less clear on what I am doing vs. what I should be doing, and how bad it actually is.

My question is in two parts:

1) Do people who exhibit great posture have to think about it?

2) How does sitting posture relate to standing posture? In particular, what types of sitting posture mistakes contribute to lumbar hyper lordosis, thoracic kyphosis and forward head when standing?

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Keep on getting stronger and more flexible. But, endurance is also very important for posture, so include more endurance training (minimum 15-20 reps) mainly for the posterior chain. Good posture is not something that can be maintained by conscious effort all the time, your muscles and nervous system must have the endurance to keep it up without much thinking.

  • I also suggest doing 1 set of 100 rear deltoid butterflies with light dumbbells every morning, day by day the volume adds up. Since I started doing it, by shoulders automatically go behind my chest when I'm relaxed. – Ekaen Apr 13 '18 at 7:57
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Do people who exhibit great posture have to think about it?

Some do, some don't, some will.

A lot of people exhibit good posture because they've had the adequate amount of physical exercise while growing up. For instance, young farmers will almost as a rule become very strong and lean because of the amount of physical labor that goes into their role as farm hand.

Other people have had to work on their posture, until it became second nature. I.e. they did it consciously for so long, it's now something they don't have to think about. (Personally, I fall into this category.)

Meanwhile, some people simply have to make a conscious effort to keep their shoulders squared, chest and chin up etc.

How does sitting posture relate to standing posture? In particular, what types of sitting posture mistakes contribute to lumbar hyper lordosis, thoracic kyphosis and forward head when standing?

I'm not going to go very deep into what causes each of these, but you mention sitting vs. standing, and that's a valid concern, at least for lumbar hyperlordosis. A sedentary lifestyle with a lot of sitting is known to cause tight hip-flexors, which in turn is one of the main causes of lumbar hyperlordosis. A common counter to this is to stretch the hip flexors regularly, even daily.

Thoracic kyphosis is largely a symptom of more serious diseases such as Scheuermann's disease, osteoporosis with compression fractures of the vertebra, multiple myeloma or outright trauma (car crash, falling etc.). All in all, this is not something you should be worried about causing through posture changes.

Forward head posture (FHP), unless caused by something dramatic, is something that can be corrected by daily habits, much like the issue with tight hip flexors. And to a large degree, you SHOULD treat it, because it can lead to bigger and worse things, like chronic neck pain, and everything that can be derived from that.

Exercises for correcting FHP are many, and you can find a plethora of simple exercises for it by googling. I'm usually not a fan of WikiHow, but I'll concede that their article on this particular subject is pretty good.

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