Let’s understand the importance of maintain a proper posture and what you can do to improve it.
Good posture is an important part of your long-term health as it can prevent pain, injuries, and other health problems. Slouching can misalign the musculoskeletal system, make the spine more fragile and prone to injury, cause neck, shoulders and back pain, decrease your flexibility, make you look less elegant…well, since you don’t have all day, I’ll stop here.
You may feel you’ve missed the boat but there’s a good chance you can still correct your posture. It’s not as hard as you may think. Better posture is often just a matter of being mindful of your body and strengthening your muscles.
Improving your rounded shoulders and a hunched posture will improve your energy levels (even more if you’re trying to lose weight), make you look more elegant and improve your confidence, comfort and mobility as your muscles will be working more efficiently and it might help you to prevent or reduce back pain.
Here are 12 tips to improve your posture:
- Be mindful of your posture during everyday activities, like watching television, washing dishes, or walking. Relax your neck, center your chin so that your head doesn’t droop, roll your shoulders back and down and lift your upper back.
- Any kind of exercise may help improve your posture. However, there are certain types of exercises that promoter proper posture. Yoga, pilates and Tai Chi are some good options because they focus on body awareness and help to strength the muscles around your back.
- Maintain a healthy weight because extra weight can weaken your abdominal muscles, cause problems for your pelvis and spine, contribute to low back pain and hence hurt your posture.
- Wear comfortable and low-heeled shoes that can help you to keep your balance and walk with a straight stance. High heels put more stress on your muscles and may harm your posture.
- Make sure that your back is fully supported while sitting.Use a back pillow or other back support if your chair does not have a backrest that can support your lower back’s curve.
- Try to make some stretches in the morning. Even for 5 minutes! It’s much better than nothing 🙂 Check out our blog post about yoga for back pain.There you will find a video with a lot of different yoga poses that will help you to improve your posture. Some of them are the fish pose, bridge pose, downward-facing dog, bow pose, cobra pose, cat pose, cow pose, supine twist, child’s pose, forward fold and legs up the wall.
- Keep a good posture while sleeping. You can try to provide support to your back with pillows. No matter whether you sleep on your back, stomach, or side, adding pillows can help provide support. In addition, choose one mattress that lets you rest comfortably and wake up pain free (remember to replace your mattress every decade or so).
- Keep a good posture while driving. Once more, pillows can help a lot! There are specific sets of lumbar and neck support cushions for car seats that provide support for the entire back and therefore makes driving a lot more comfortable. They are ideal for people with back pain and/or who want to fix their posture. If you don’t like white cushions as much as I do, check other colors and types of cushions here.
- Improve your sitting posture. Make sure your back is at a right angle to your thighs. Keep your shoulders straight, your head upright and your neck, back, and heels aligned. Keep your feet flat while sitting. If your feet don’t touch the floor, use a footrest. If you work at home and you are sitting all day, make sure you buy a chair that’s ergonomically designed for proper support, meaning it supports all of your back, even the curve at the bottom. Also, make sure it’s designed for your height and weight. There are a number of things you should consider when buying an ergonomic chair including seat height, seat width and depth, lumbar support, backrest, seat material, armrests and rotation.
- Have you heard about “active sitting”? As the world continues to advance technologically, for some people, sitting at our desks for extended periods of time has become difficult to avoid and it can lead to many postural and health complications. Sitting places more strain on our back than when we stand or move around, meaning sitting for long periods can increase lower back pain and create pressure on lumbar intervertebral discs. By using a wobble cushion to “actively sit”, you are creating an unstable surface to sit on, meaning the body has to correct itself against gravity constantly. This encourages the postural muscles to be activated, providing small but beneficial movement to train the muscles of the lower back, core and pelvis.
- Other way to maintain a good posture while working at your desk is to use a back support in your chair. This back support is ideal for car seats and office chairs. Its contoured and orthopedic design support your lower back and reduce fatigue and back pain.
- Use a posture corrector a couple of hours a day. Posture correctors were created to improve alignment of the body as a whole. They will constantly remind your body and muscles of the right position to be. After a while it is expected that you will create the habit and automatically correct your posture by yourself. Posture correctors can be used longer in an acute phase of back pain, but after this phase the daily use time should be reduced (to approximately 2 hours a day) so that the muscles are forced to work by themselves without help.