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Posture. Such a simple word. Such a complex concept.

Posture is often described as a static position. Sitting, standing, and kneeling are common static postures. On occasion dynamic postures are referenced and discussed, for instance, walking or running postures. Then of course the combo platter of postures including postures we experience while pedaling a bicycle or horseback riding.

Simple yet complex.


Sitting has been deemed the “New Smoking”. Sounds scary. And if this is indeed true, how are we as a society supposed to avoid sitting similar to how we have been instructed to avoid smoking?

You’re right, we cannot avoid sitting. Modern conveniences, lifestyle choices, and industrialized cultures all make sitting a regular part of a person’s daily routine. The sitting posture is adapted frequently as we commute to work, eat meals, participate in work meetings and the guilty pleasure of searching the internet for information on computers or other devices.

Think of how much of your day is consumed by these tasks.

To make matters more concerning, a popular form of exercise also has sitting as a significant aspect of participation, cycling. Although a great form of cardiovascular exercise, the sitting posture is involved with yet another aspect of one’s day.


Standing is often encouraged as an option at work. A standing desk can be utilized as an option to avoid sitting; however, standing itself is not a perfect solution.

Standing static at a workstation, during a conference, or while commuting reduces muscular activity in the lower body, especially below the knee. When the muscles are idle, circulation and venous function are reduced, mostly affecting our lower body. Thus, muscular contraction is vital for proper blood flow throughout our body especially when it comes to the lower extremities.


Kneeling can help reduce venous pooling in the lower legs, unlike standing, and can increase hip extension mobility by allowing the front of the hip to stretch, unlike sitting. Kneeling often can be performed at an existing work station thus reducing the need for a standing desk.

Although kneeling sounds good this position also has limitations. First and foremost, our knees are not our feet. Knees will not have the tolerance to maintain the upright position at a workstation like our feet are able to accomplish. Usually a cushion or pad is needed to ease the pressure experienced in the kneeling position and will often limit the availability of this option for people.


Static standing presents its own set of limitations, knees are not feet, and with sitting deemed the “New Smoking”, what is one supposed to do when we have to participate in sitting throughout the day? You guessed it, variety!

Variety is said to be the spice of life. A variety of postures is a great option to reduce negative effects of each posture we encounter throughout our day. Transitioning between sitting, standing and kneeling while at work is usually an easy and immediately available option for all people. Choosing to move or walk when it is an option, i.e. taking the stairs vs elevator or escalator, will also increase the variety our body can experience during the day.

Posture in Summary

Postures are more accurately how we hold our bodies during daily and dynamic activities. This is one of the reasons static positions put such a strain on our bodies.

Our bodies are meant to move throughout the day thus experiencing a variety of positions , aka: postures, throughout the day is what we are designed to do. Positional variety is a vital part of a healthy existence.

From increasing blood flow and lung activity with our cardiovascular systems, improving GI motility in the digestive system, as well as improving strength and timing in our neuromuscular systems, muscle contraction and relaxation is a vital part to the health of all bodily systems that make up our person.

If you are experiencing aches and pain from the lack of posture variety in your life, Physical Therapy at Compcare can help put more spice in your life. Walk-in or schedule an appointment at either our Eagan or Cottage Grove location.

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