[Updated on 1 June 2020] Humans have always been creatures of motion, and it’s not until the modern age that humans began spending a majority of their time behind the wheel of a vehicle, office desk or on the couch. Human posture, whether good or bad, it the direct result of our lifestyle. Our bodies are designed to mold into the positions that we frequent the most. Therefore, excessive sitting will result in having tight chest muscles, that causes the shoulders to rotate forward internally while the rarely utilized upper back muscles weaken in effect.
Posture also has a direct effect on how we look, perform and feel. Poor posture is the leading cause of both neck and back pain. It’s estimated that 80% of people would suffer from back pain in their lifetime and 50% from neck pain. Bad posture is discovered to be one of the main risk factor and the leading cause of many, on the job, athletic and lifestyle injuries.
What is a posture correction shirt?
A posture shirt is an upper body garment that has been fortified with unique technology that serves the purpose of signaling targeted body muscles to perform specific functions that will help you correct your posture. These shirts are designed with materials such a polyester, spandex and Lycra with a combination of fibers to effectively provide the required functions.
Using patented technologies to harness the properties of different materials, these shirts can provide stability and support to various muscles that are located in the back. The two leading manufacturers of posture shirts; Alignmed and Intelliskin have worked with professionals in sports, medicine, and sports science to come up with their respective products that have patented technology. Each of the brands has its way of creating the posture shirts that have patented tech. Each of the brands also has a shirt that can work for you.
What are the benefits of wearing a posture shirt?
- Helps to relieve pain
- Improves your balance
- Increases the wearer’s mobility
- Increases your posture recovery rate
- Improves your performance
- Has the capability to enhance your proprioception.
There are several posture shirts in the market with others offering more support than others. All of them offer adjustability. While different people have different body builds and shapes. It’s important to look for a posture shirt that is a direct fit to your body for maximum effect.
Difference between Posture shirts and Compression shirts
If you have poor posture and back pain, getting a posture shirt might seem like a miracle product. At first glance, the posture shirt looks like an under-armor compression shirt. So, what makes this product different? On the surface, these products might seem the same, but under scrutiny, it is clear that the design and function of the two are different. A posture shirt is made from 77% polyester and 23% spandex, while the compression shirts are made from elastane/polyester material. While compression shirts have a purpose, they will not assist in maintaining or correcting your body posture.
A posture shirt looks like a tight-fitting gym t-shirt, the difference is, it pulls into the shoulder back. Posture shirt designers say that these shirts have been made to act like some sort of brace. But instead, the variable elasticity bands mimic how your muscles to contract naturally; targeting the weak areas while making users more aware of their posture. What this means is that your muscles will work independently, and in the process strengthen themselves. It is more like a continuous reminder on the shoulder alerting you to sit up straight.
According to the designers, you are only supposed to wear this shirt for an hour or two at a time. Exceeding that time frame will put you in the danger of straining your muscles. According to posture shirt designers, wearers only need to wear them for six months. After this period, they will have re-learned how to sit, stand and walk the correct way on their own. You could also use it ad hoc as a top up for example, after a long day of driving.
Are Posture Shirts proven?
Several studies were done in the US back up posture shirts. One research study recruited 96 computer users, assessing them before and after wearing the posture shirts for four weeks. The study revealed, that not only was there a significant difference in the forward shoulder posture, thoracic kyphosis, forward head posture, and grip strength but because muscle fatigue and postural fatigue decreased by 21% and 29% respectively. The subjects from this study saw their energy levels and productivity increase by about 20% and 13%.
How do posture shirts work?
Posture shirts are made of a flexible stretch elastic material that is set up in a T-formation that’s meant to pull your shoulders and spine into alignment or proper neutral position. Once this happens, specific muscles groups will be activated, that will help you perform better-providing posture correction and maintaining benefits.
Posture shirt designers claim that their shirts have been designed to ease ache by helping individuals who wear them sit up straight. These garments feature compression panels that are designed to pull back your body into a correct supportive posture. According to the designers, this effect helps your muscles work harder, toning your body while you sit up.
According to experts, back pain is caused when individuals have weak abdominal muscles that are meant to hold us up straight when standing or sitting. When these muscles are weak, individuals tend to slump or overstretch the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and discs that are located in the back, causing pain.
Posture shirts work as back braces that help keep your shoulders from slouching by offering support to the core muscles. Designers such as Pelham & Strutt state, improving your upper back posture has a direct knock-on effect on the lower back. This tight-fitting top also has added benefit of slimming the silhouette by holding in the bumps and lumps.
Posture shirts are designed to fit both men and women. The main idea behind the posture shirt is a kind of “posture corrector” that are equipped with kinesiological tapes that the garment is equipped with which help stimulate the muscles, improving blood circulation for a much better posture.
Importance of Design
These shirts are designed to stimulate the otherwise inactive muscles improving the body’s muscle memory. This posture improvement device is specifically adapted to provide wearers with neuromuscular stimulation by using a combination of pressure, angle, and torque, that are simultaneously applied on the user to help them train their body muscle to have proper posture.
This device garment is designed to be worn by the user, which is adapted to envelop at least a portion of the wearer’s chest, torso, hips and a portion of their upper arms. These garments are meant to fit the wearer like short sleeved undershirts or t-shirts. The ‘touch’ offers a nervous biofeedback mechanism that uses physically placed elastomeric fabric panels that are mounted on each shirt.
The patented modular panels are modifiable and trademarked by their respective companies; for example, Alignmed calls their patented modular panels NeuroBands. The Biofeedback is normally made by the variable tensioners of the panel used to provide conscious and unconscious stimulation to support the desired physiological muscle and joints that change over time.
These tensioners are the specific elastic properties of the NeuroBands and have directional pull placed on them. This tension applies a consistent tactile touch to the skin, and its effect on the underlying muscle tissue, facia, and sensory pathways mirrors that of unconscious reflex action and contractions. The neuroband’s elasticity provides actionable support to bolster the neuromechanics of the movement.
It’s important that you do not confuse a posture shirt with a compression shirt. This is due to the anatomic placement of the neurobands within the posture shirt detects and adapts the continuous physical variations that occur within the internal and external environments.
Why should I wear a posture shirt?
While the shirts have gained a lot of attention ever since pro athletes started wearing them. But they are not the ideal customer. If you sit for prolonged periods; while working at the computer or driving, you could benefit from buying a posture shirt.
By now, you know that sitting down for a prolonged period is not good for your health. Its been medically proven to cause spine misalignment, numbness, and discomfort- it’s even been discovered to cause pinched nerves, cardiovascular disease and a myriad of other physical complications.
It’s important to note that posture shirt is not a magical solution to help you get rid of these problems. However, it can be used to stimulate muscles to practice proper position throughout the day. The potential benefits of a posture shirt are well worth exploring.
It’s also important to note that the journey to a good posture will not only involve wearing a posture shirt. For maximum effects and great results, wearers will still have to train their muscles to work even though the posture shirt helps them achieve these. It’s significant that you follow exercise that will help strengthen the muscles located in the upper back and shoulder which are responsible for improving and fixing your posture.