Good posture does more than allow you to look your best by standing up straight. It’s also an important piece of the puzzle that is your long-term health. Ensuring that you hold up your body correctly, either when moving, standing, or sitting, can prevent a breadth of pain, injuries, and other health problems.
What exactly is posture?
Posture refers to the way you hold your body, and there are two types:
- Dynamic Posture: This is how you hold your body when you are in motion, such as when walking, running, or bending over to pick up an object.
- Static Posture: This refers to how you hold your body when you are not in motion, such as when you are sitting, standing, or sleeping.
How can posture affect my health?
Poor posture can be very detrimental to your long-term health. Symptoms of poor posture include:
- Back Pain
- Back Aches and Pains
- Misalignment of Spinal Disks/Musculoskeletal System
- Muscle Fatigue
- Rounded Shoulders
- Difficulty Breathing
- Decreased Flexibility
- Decreased Joint Mobility
- Decreased Balance
- Increased Risk of Falling
How can I improve my posture in general?
- Mindfulness: Throughout your day, in all of the activities you participate in – walking, doing the dishes, watching TV – be mindful of your posture.
- Fitness: While doing virtually any exercise can help improve your posture, some help more than others. Tai chi, yoga, and other classes that focus on body awareness can be extremely helpful in maintaining good posture and mindfulness.
- Healthy Weight: When we have excess weight, our abdominal muscles are weakened, causing spinal and pelvic issues, which contribute to lower back pain. In short, being overweight will worsen your posture, and maintaining a healthy weight is a great way to help maintain good posture.
- Wear The Right Shoes: If you find yourself wearing high heels and have poor posture, it’s high time to ditch the heels. They can throw off your balance, forcing you to walk differently, thus placing more stress on your muscles and weakening your posture.
- Make Your Workspace Ergnomic: Most of us spend countless hours at work, so let’s make them count. Ensure your workspace surfaces are at a comfortable height, and try out an ergonimic keyboard and mouse. They can do wonders to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.
How can I improve my posture while sitting?
- Keep both feet flat on the floor, and don’t cross your legs.
- Take brief walks every 30 minutes or so if possible.
- Frequently change seating positions, ensuring your seating position is dynamic throughout the day.
- Relax your shoulders. Don’t round them or pull them backwards.
- Gently stretch your muscles often to relieve muscle tension.
- Ensure proper support of your hips and thighs by using a well-padded seat, and adjusting your thighs and hips to be parallel to the floor.
- Keep elbows close to your body, bent at an angle of 90-120 degrees.
- Ensure your back is well supported. If your chair doesn’t have a backrest built to support your lower back’s curve, use a back pillow.
How can I improve my posture when standing?
- Keep your head level, not at an angle.
- Keep your shoulders back.
- Stand up straight & tall, ensuring your back is well extended and not hunched.
- Pull in your stomach.
- Put the bulk of your weight on the balls of your feet.
- Keep a distance of about shoulder-width between your feet.
- Relax arms and let them hang down naturally at your sides.
Good posture takes practice, but with practice and time, you will look better, feel better, and your body will thank you for it.
What to do if I’ve had bad posture my whole life?
Unfortunately, many of us have suffered from poor posture our entire lives. In those cases, the damage done to the musculoskeletal system can be significant by the time posture is addressed. In order to correct this, a specialist is often needed to correct the damage done. Spine specialists such as Dr. Jason Mubarak at Midlands Spine Center will be able to provide both treatments for the symptoms of poor posture as well as wellness plans to ensure continued success and long-term health. Book an appointment online today at www.midlandsspinecenter.com/appointment to get the care you need right away.