Recently I took up practicing Qi Gong for general mind/body health. The first session was based solely on standing in the correct posture. After experiencing this, I realized that if I adhere to just one of the postural principles on a regular basis, I’ll dramatically reduce my chance of having “bad” knees later in life. You can do the same.
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to actively maintain properly aligned posture. Have you ever tried to hold you shoulders back or your head straight up? It’s doesn’t usually last for very long. That’s because your posture is determined by the length and neurological activity of so many different muscles, and not (simply) your conscious actions. I’d say that your posture picks you; you don’t pick your posture. The same is true with holding your knees in good posture, however it may be a bit easier than your shoulders.
Essentially, when standing still your knees should be slightly bent. Chances are that you normally stand with your knees totally locked. Some people even stand with their knees hyper-extended as if the quad muscles were constantly contracted. The problem with the knee joint(s) being totally locked is that it places undue stress on the ligaments (tissues that connect bone to bone) and causes excessive stress on the cartilage as well. Ligaments have a relatively poor blood supply, while cartilage has no blood supply. Therefore, when there’s an injury (or prolonged damage) to these tissues, healing occurs at a very slow pace, if at all.
By standing with your knees slightly bent, the ligaments and cartilage won’t be over-stressed because your quads will take up the slack. Additionally, this relaxed knee joint posture will also help strengthen your quads which will result in increased knee stability during everyday activities. It may take a bit of conscious mind control when starting, and your muscles may tire a bit at first. But sticking with this simple tip should reap rewards for a lifetime. Good luck!
Dr. Rob D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Diplomate and Board-Certified Teacher of the International College of Applied Kinesiology