How to Improve your Posture

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Posture is the position you hold your body in when you stand, sit, and lay down. There are two types; dynamic posture and static posture. Dynamic refers to your posture when you are moving, and static refers to your posture when staying still.

Posture is mainly controlled by your spine and the way you control the muscles around it. Standing, walking, and laying down are all relatively passive activities that do not require much thought for most people. Even though posture is something easy to forget about, it can have a significant impact on your overall health and well being. 

Why should you stand with good posture?

With today’s reliance on modern technology, many of us are culprits of poor posture. Most of us spend hours of our days sitting down, hunched over and staring at our computer and phone screens. Then we head home and haphazardly drape ourselves on our sofas and beds. Slouching can lead to long term problems, such as back pain, arthritis, headaches, and abnormal wear and tear of joints.

Good posture will help prevent and/or delay the onset of some of these problems. There are many other additional benefits that include but are not limited to,

  • Prevents chronic pain
  • Improvement in muscle function
  • Improvement in circulation
  • Increased lung capacity
  • Less neck and shoulder tension 

What is good posture?

Good posture revolves around the position of your spine and the muscles around it. When you slouch, you’re adding unnecessary stress and strain to your spine and muscles. However, you shouldn’t think of proper posture to be like standing as straight as a board. Rather, your spine is naturally curved at your neck, middle back, and lower back. Good posture will retain these curves, but not increase them. 

The ways you go about improving your posture will vary depending on your situation. Are you sitting at your desk? Standing in line? Lifting heavy objects? Regardless, the key points to focus on will remain the same, and you will learn to adjust accordingly. 

The key to posture is your spine alignment. Your head should be straight, and your ears should be above the middle of your shoulders. Your shoulders should be directly above your hips.

Here are a few day to day activities where you may need to change your posture.

Standing

  • Stand up straight and tall
  • Keep most of your weight on the balls of your feet
  • Avoid leaning all of your weight on one leg for long periods of time
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart

Sitting

  • Sit up straight 
  • Make sure the back of your chair is supporting your lower back
  • Bend your knees at a right angle and keep both feet flat on the floor
  • Adjust your chair height so that your screen is at eye level
  • Keep your elbows close to your body, bent at a 90 degree angle
  • Take breaks and change positions at least twice an hour

Sleeping

  • Avoid sleeping on your side or stomach, back is the best choice
  • Don’t use very thick, or stacked pillows that cause your neck to bend upwards
  • Keeping a pillow under your knees and/or lower back will help with lumbar support

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