While many people think that posture is defined merely by the position of the back, according to the Cleveland Clinic, correct posture involves the entire body. It is important to maintain proper posture when standing, sitting and lying down to place the least amount of weight on joints and ligaments.
Correct back, leg, shoulder and knee posture is vital to prevent strains and pressure on joints and muscles that provide support during weight-bearing activities and general movement. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the thigh and lower leg bones are protected with proper knee posture. Arthritis, fatigue and injuries can be reduced or eliminated with proper knee alignment.
When sitting, your knees should be bent at a right angle, slightly higher than the hips. Your ankles should be slightly forward of your knees. According to the Cleveland Clinic, crossing your legs places harmful pressure on your spine and legs and should be avoided. Body weight should be distributed equally on both sides and your feet should be flat on the floor. Knees also should be slightly higher than your hips when driving.
The posture of the knees is especially important when bending and lifting heavy items. The effects of poor knee posture when lifting can be serious and can cause back sprain and spinal pressure. The back should remain straight with knees and hips bent to pick up objects from a position lower than your waist. Keep feet and knees spread to at least shoulder-width apart to maintain balance and avoid locking the knees. When lifting items from a table at waist-height, bend the knees slightly to take pressure off your back.
Posture for Reclining
The natural curvature of the spine should be maintained when lying down. To help keep correct posture when sleeping or lying down, you should bend your knees slightly if you are on your side. Do not draw your knees up to your chest to avoid back strain. Knees should be slightly elevated with a pillow under them if you lie on your back, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Swing both knees over to the side of the bed and push up with your arms when rising.
Postural habits can be difficult to change. According to the American Chiropractic Association, long-term practices of standing, sitting and lying down incorrectly can be corrected with time and vigilance. Paying attention to where your knees and shoulders are positioned is vital to developing good posture. Keep your knees slightly bent at all times, no matter what potion you're in and the rest of your body will more naturally move into correct alignment. Exercises aimed at strengthening hips, buttocks and leg muscles can help to maintain correct knee posture as well.