How many times have you heard “Stand up straight?” From early childhood, we have been reminded regularly that we should have good posture and standing up straight is just one small part of the good posture equation.
When we have “good posture,” our bones are aligned which allows your body to work as intended. From your ligaments and muscles moving properly, to vital organs sitting in the right position, good posture is an important part of good health.
However, poor posture is becoming more common with strenuous days spent hunched over a desk or not getting proper exercise to build muscles to help support good posture.
So, what are some ways you can improve your posture?
1) Adjust your computer:
In the working world or even in school, we are more consistently on our computers. Unfortunately, because of our busy lifestyle, we are unaware of how improperly sitting at a computer can affect our posture. Improve your posture while sitting at a computer by adjusting the height of the computer (or chair or desk) to align your eyes with the middle of your screen. Relax your shoulders as much as possible and try switching the mouse from hand to hand on occasion to even out your body (this may even be a good workout for your non-dominant hand).
2) Stand with your weight evenly distributed:
Easier said than done! We all have a tendency to shift our weight to one foot. When we stand with our weight on one foot, we are disrupting the alignment of our hips, which in turn affects the rest of our body. In order to have good posture, your weight should be evenly distributed through both feet. Keep in mind not to lock your knees and keep your tailbone tucked in to support your lower back.
3) Exercise regularly:
It sounds cliché, but exercise truly does improve your posture. When you build muscle memory, you do not have to focus on good posture – it comes naturally. Some muscle groups to focus on include your shoulders, back, and hamstrings.
4) Sit properly:
We are a generation of sitters. We sit through school, work, and even at home watching television. Because we sit so often, we must be aware of how we are sitting. To maintain good posture, sit with both feet planted on the ground (not crossed). This helps to keep your hips in alignment. Also, be aware of slumping shoulders or excessively leaning forward.
5) Change the way you sleep:
We all have a comfortable sleeping position. However, the way we sleep can affect our overall posture and changing the position we sleep in can help. The most highly recommended position to sleep in is on your back; it supports your spine and neck and allows the rest of the body to relax more than any other position. If you are a side-sleeper and cannot break the habit, try putting a pillow in between your knees to help keep your hips in alignment. The worst position you can sleep in is on your stomach because it flattens the natural curve of your spine and causes lower back pain.
Further, the mattress we sleep on should be firm and supportive for your spine. Flip your mattress regularly to avoid lumps.
6) Get your core in shape:
Your core is responsible for stabilizing your spine, pelvis, ribs & shoulders. Without strengthening your core, you are putting yourself at risk of injury & are harming your posture. Exercises such as planks, crunches (done properly!), and dumbbell side-bends can help you improve you core and posture.
Establishing good posture at a young age increases your likelihood of having good posture into later years. Encourage your kids to stand up straight and be aware of their own posture.
If you have questions about some ways you can improve your posture, contact us today! We would love to help you and your family return to good health.