When you spend hours every day sitting at the computer or standing at work, your spine may never be properly aligned. Better posture is vital for your overall health and for avoiding back pain (all too common these days).
In today’s article we’ll share some of the best techniques for achieving better posture.
What influences the position of your spine?
Basically, everything. Your spine is your main support system and it’s important to take care of it. Poor posture can lead to severe and even irreversible problems, such as herniated discs and chronic fatigue. But it’s more than just discomfort that’s caused by not sitting, standing, or walking correctly.
Women frequently suffer from misalignment of the hip. How does that happen? When we’re at rest, we often support all of our weight on one of our two legs. Wearing high heels or carrying heavy shoulder bags can worsen the problem.
Poor posture is becoming more common thanks to the type of work that most people have today, in addition to growing rates of obesity, physical inactivity, and excessive use of technology (including phones, tablets, and laptops).
When you tilt your head down to send a message or check email and social media it causes your spine to slouch and your body to lean forward. Did you know that this is one of the reasons people suffer from neck pain?
Don’t forget to read: 8 tips for better posture
What should the ideal posture be?
Some people only focus on how they hold their back and shoulders while they’re exercising or lifting weights. But you need to pay attention to your posture any time, anywhere: whether you’re at the grocery store, riding the subway, or watching TV at home.
The following are some moments in the day that you typically might not pay attention to your posture:
The soles of your feet should be flat on the floor, your back straight, and your shoulders down and back. If you cross your legs, it may disrupt your circulation, leading to swelling and fatigue.
Your knees should be slightly bent and your abdominal muscles open to expand as you breathe, and allowing your weight to be distributed between your legs and chest.
Your neck and head should be held upright – don’t look down, because it can cause neck pain. Make sure your heel lands first, followed by your toes.
The best sleeping position is on your side with your knees bent. This helps keep your spine straight. Furthermore, you need to use a high quality mattress and pillows (changing them from time to time is also important).
Better posture benefits your spine as well as your safety. When you hold yourself upright there’s less of a chance you’ll be injured in the event of an accident. To do this, stop leaning back against your seat or resting your head on the headrest. Adjust the seat so you can reach the foot pedals easily without having to bend forward.
How can you achieve better posture?
There are several techniques that can help you keep your back straight at any time of the day. At first it might be a little difficult to remember to “sit up straight,” and your spine or muscles might even be sore because they’re unaccustomed to this better posture. The benefits will outweigh the initial discomfort, however. Some effective options are:
Imagining that there’s a rope holding you up
This is frequently taught in yoga or Pilates class. You have to imagine that a rope is leading from the top of your head to the ceiling.
Put tape on your back
You’ll need to ask a friend for help with this one. Make an X on your back using masking tape, starting at the right shoulder and connecting to the left hip, across the back of your waist, and then from your right hip and ending with your left shoulder. It will help you maintain your posture. It’s important that you keep your shoulders back when you apply the tape.
You want to know more? 6 stretches to relieve lower back pain
Balance a book on your head
This technique was used for years to teach young girls how they should walk. The idea is that you keep your head and neck straight, and don’t look down. It also avoids listless, drooping shoulders.
Pay attention to your calves
Posture isn’t something that only affects the spine – it is part of your entire body. Your legs support your entire weight and the calves expend the most effort.
Sit on the floor, stretch out your legs, and lean forward to touch your toes. This is an excellent stretch for your back, shoulders, and neck, while also strengthening the muscles of the calves and abdomen.
If you spend all day at work seated at a desk, try to get up from time to time and walk around. Whenever you stand do a few laps around your desk, move your arms, and roll your shoulders and hips. While you’re seated, put your legs up and keep your back straight, shoulders relaxed.
Look in the mirror
A great way to know if you’re keeping good posture is by looking at yourself. Face a mirror, sit up a straight, and see how you look. This will help you be sure you’re doing it right.