We have all been told to sit or stand up straighter, but did you know that there is more to good posture than simply how you look to other people?
Improving your posture can provide lasting health benefits that can impact your quality of life and lessen the potential for painful chronic ailments.
There are two types of posture that we need to be conscious of:
Dynamic posture is the posture of movement and how your spine is aligned while you bend to pick things up, walk, or engage in other physical activity.
Static posture is the posture of sitting, reclining, or simply standing.
If you do not practice healthy habits or exercise properly, your static and dynamic posture can lead to serious health consequences. You must preserve the natural curvature of your spine at all times. From the neck to the shoulders to the lower back. If you do not, there can be lasting nerve and tissue damage that create ongoing health complications.
Tips for Improving Posture
Luckily, there are a few simple tips and tricks you can follow to make sure that your spine and posture remain healthy:
Posture while sitting:
- Ergonomics – make sure that your feet are uncrossed and are on the floor and that your work surfaces are at a comfortable height that does not promote slouching.
- Take breaks – make sure you do not spend prolonged time in a seated position – stretch, stand, or go for walks to encourage the stretching of muscles and prevent strain and cramping.
- Good support – make sure that you maintain a relaxed 90-degree angle while sitting. Select a chair that provides good support for your hip and lower back and allows you to keep your shoulders relaxed rather than pulled back or rigid.
Posture while sleeping/reclining:
- Mattress – select a mattress that provides good support for your body’s natural curves
- Position – avoid sleeping on your stomach or completely prone. If you can sleep on your side with your neck correctly supported, this can aid in sleeping posture
- Pillows – use pillows to encourage your spine’s natural curvature by inserting one between your legs or using them to give your back support while side sleeping.
Posture while standing and moving:
- Positioning – make sure that your feet are a shoulder’s width apart and that you are not slouching while you stand. Keeping your head level and the weight on the balls of your feet can make a tremendous impact on the curvature of your spine.
- Footwear – make sure that you are wearing low-heeled shoes most of the time, especially if you will be doing a great deal of standing.
- Stay active – perhaps the most important tip is to remain active. When you are standing, make sure to move and shift your weight and hold in your abs. Do frequent toning exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles, and walk with good posture, which becomes a habit. By exercising the muscles surrounding your spine, you can increase your overall spinal health without unhealthy bending or reclining, or tilting your head.
Good posture doesn’t mean rigidly sitting or standing. Instead, it means practicing healthy habits not to develop lasting complications and back pain down the road.