We all do it. Walk around or sit around with bad posture. It’s not that we’re lazy, it just kind of happens.
But, there is a way to correct yourself and maintain good, healthy posture. And, if you don’t, you could pay a significant price. It all starts with awareness.
We must be aware of our posture in order to fix what is wrong and maintain it when we get there. Some people might find the help of chiropractic care to be particularly useful, while others practice meditation or other forms of therapy.
The key ingredient for how to improve your posture lies in your desire to be healthy and happy now and when you grow older. Keep reading to learn more about how to improve posture and walk strong and steady through life.
How to Improve Your Posture
Poor posture can lead to excessive strain on your muscles, especially in your neck and shoulders. It can also cause muscles to relax, which can lead to back pain and injury.
There are several factors that contribute to bad posture, most commonly sitting at a desk with a computer or hunching over a cell phone. Other reasons for bad posture include stress, pregnancy, obesity, and high-heeled shoes.
You may not even know you have bad posture if your body is used to sitting, standing, or lying in certain positions. It could take some time to train yourself into the habit of having good posture all the time.
Here’s how to get started:
One of the first places to start when learning how to fix posture is to stretch often. Stretch when you get up from a sitting position, when you wake up in the morning, and before you go to bed each night. Stretching your muscles will help them transition when you start to position correctly.
Stretching also revives your muscles after being stuck in one position for varied periods of time.
Try leaning back as far as you can with your hands placed at the small of your back, fingers facing down toward the ground. Or, lie flat on the ground and raise yourself up off the ground using your elbows while allowing your lower back to sag toward the floor. Hold for a few seconds and repeat a few times.
There are plenty of exercises you can perform to strengthen your core and you should do your diligence to add them into your workout program. If you don’t have a workout program, make one using these types of exercises.
Realize that your core is the entire area from under your rib cage to the mid-thigh, including the abs, muscles along both sides of your torso, and back muscles. These muscles all work together to help you stand and sit comfortably.
If you’re wondering what good posture should look like, take a look at yourself in the mirror. Your palms should face your thighs with your thumbs pointing ahead.
Good posture is when your head and shoulders are pulled back and down. Take a look at how it looks in the mirror so you can try to imitate it throughout your day. You can also stand with your back facing the wall. Do your heels, buttocks, shoulder blades, and head all touch the wall? If not, you most likely have a forward posture.
Proper Standing Position
Most people don’t know that you should actually place most of your weight on the balls of your feet when in a standing position. You should also keep your knees slightly bent and your feet should be about shoulder width apart.
Make sure to stand tall and straight. Your shoulders should be pulled backward and don’t push your head forward. Think ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, and ears in a straight line with each other.
Proper Seating Position
Another way you can learn how to fix your posture is to learn how to sit properly.
Make sure that your feet are flat on the floor in front of you with your ankles directly in front of your knees. There should be about a two to four finger gap between the edge of the seat and your knees and your knees should sit at the level of your hips. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and your forearms sit parallel to the ground. Think hips, shoulders, and ears in a vertical line with each other.
As a side note, try not to sit for more than an hour at a time without getting up to stretch.
Proper Working Position
If you want to learn how to improve posture at work, then you need to learn how to work in a better position.
Many people that work in a desk environment tend to lean forward to their computer screen. Your computer screen should be about arm’s length in front of your face. You should try sitting back in your chair with a lumbar pillow behind your lower back for better lumbar support.
Lifting can take a toll on your posture if you’re not careful. It’s important to lift with your legs or you could sustain an injury to your back and neck and shoulders.
Make sure your feet are standing slightly wider than your shoulders and squat with your knees. Use your gluteal muscles to lift as you pull in your stomach and exhale on exertion.
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as sleep posture as well. Sleeping in the proper position can help you maintain proper posture in your waking hours as well as limit the possibility of strain and pain in your back.
If you sleep on your back, make sure to keep a pillow under your knees. If you’re a side sleeper, keep a pillow between your knees for proper spinal alignment. Try not to sleep on your stomach because this can cause neck strain.
No matter how you sleep, make sure you also use a neck supporting pillow for your head. Your spine health matters and sleeping in the proper position will help.
Other Bad Posture Habits
Improving posture also boils down to breaking other bad habits like wearing high heels and carrying an unnecessarily heavy purse. Try wearing heels only for special occasions and avoid a heavy bag. Opt for a cross-body style that disperses weight evenly instead.
If you’re still looking for ways on how to improve your posture, you should also consider trying corrective yoga or pilates. These exercises strengthen the core (remember they are the muscles all the way around your torso) and train your muscles in the right direction. Just 15 minutes of yoga three days per week can make a world of difference in a short amount of time. It is important to remember that strengthening is all about the balance between muscle groups. Never work one direction and neglect the opposite direction. Four ropes hold up the center pole of a tent. They all work equally to create balance.
Remember, good posture not only prevents aches and pains, but it reduces stress on ligaments and helps keep bones and joints in correct alignment. This is important for the proper use of our muscles.
If you have more questions or you think professional help would benefit your journey to better posture, feel free to contact us. We offer a variety of therapies in one convenient location in Thousand Oaks. Also, feel free to stop by!