Why is posture important?

Posture is gravity-dependent and means a learner’s body has to resist the downward pull of gravity or they would be lying down all the time. Gravity works like a special kind of magnet that pulls EVERYTHING (not only metal) to its centre. If it didn’t pull everything towards the centre of the earth then everything would be floating as if it was in space.

Muscle tone is an opposing force to gravity. Gravity pulls DOWN and muscle tone pulls UP. To stay ‘UP’ we’ve got two kinds of muscles, muscles to support posture and muscles to facilitate movement.

Posture is not no movement, but rather it is just very small movements called static movements used  to maintain body weight in a vertical or upright position when stationary. Static movement is performed by tonic muscles in the form of slow contractions with long durability. Tonic muscles are ‘background’ muscles with lots of endurance that oppose gravity to keep us upright.

You do not only need posture when you are stationary, you also need to resist the pull of gravity when moving. For movement, nature has endowed learners with phasic muscles. Phasic muscles are responsible for locomotion (also called dynamic movement). These muscles work rhythmically with quick contraction and high bursts of power on demand.

A learner also needs short bursts of movement when they sit and need to write, read and do arithmetic. For those functions both tonic and phasic muscles need to work together.

What does correct sitting posture for handwriting look like?

  • Feet flat on the floor
  • Thighs parallel to floor and knees at a 90-degree angle
  • Back up straight (s-curve)
  • Neck and shoulders relaxed
  • Body faces desk squarely so non-dominant arm can support body weight
  • Forearms resting on desk with elbows level with the desktop at 90-degrees
  • Paper stabilised with non-dominant hand
  • Paper tilted if left-handed.