From grade school teachers to standing desks in the workplace, the importance of good posture seems to be stressed now more than ever. But why?
Practicing good posture aligns the joints, bones and vital organs so they can function at prime efficiency. Keeping the spine straight can sustain energy, improve physical performance and protect the body from injury. Furthermore, strong posture shows confidence and some studies even claim it even improves overall mood!
What Is Good Posture?
Those with good posture stand with a neutral spine. Shoulders, knees and hips are properly aligned and weight is evenly distributed on each foot. The tailbone should be tucked and the chin should run parallel to the floor.
Achieving perfect posture is much easier than you think. Try these 7 proven ways to improve posture and see results quickly:
1. Take standing breaks
Sitting is the new smoking. Sitting for 8-12 hours each day increases chances of cardiovascular complications, cancer and several chronic conditions. Alleviate the negative impact siting has on your posture and take several standing breaks each day. If you can, stand up every 30 minutes.
2. Stretch regularly
Stretching is essential to muscle health. Incorporate forward bends and twists into your daily stretching routine and roll your shoulders and neck to keep tension at bay. Massage is also a tremendous way to stretch your muscles while relaxing.
3. Sleep on your back
Sleeping on your stomach is the least healthy way to sleep and while dozing on your side does elongate your spine, it can also put stress on your lower back and pelvis. Snoozing on your back keeps your neck and spine neutral, which means you’re more likely to wake up feeling aligned. Place a small pillow under your knees for extra support.
4. Sit with your feet flat
Though etiquette may say it’s appropriate to cross your legs when sitting, keeping your feet flat on the floor is best for your posture.
5. Keep your core strong
The abdominal muscles move and stabilize your spine as you go about your daily activities. The stronger your core muscles are, the better protection they offer your spine and the greater they can assist you in keeping your posture in pristine condition.
6. Get a massage regularly
Receiving a massage on a frequent basis will not only make you more aware of your body, but will loosen muscles that cause you to hunch over. The muscle manipulation administered by a therapist improves circulation and overall muscle health so you can keep your posture strong. Working with a therapist also allows you to work out any kinks that are hindering your posture.
7. Build back strength
Strengthening the muscles in your back will help protect your spine and prevent pain and injury. An easy way to strengthen the latissimus dorsi (the largest muscle in the back) is to inhale your shoulders towards your ears and then exhale your shoulder blades down towards your back pockets. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat several times a day. You can also counteract the strain siting places on your back by lying on the floor with knees bent and your feet pressed to the floor. Raise your hips as high as you can and hold for a minute. This will stretch your hip flexors and strengthen the muscles that support your spine.
Try these 7 painless tips and watch your posture improve greatly. You’ll notice that you experience less aches and pains and your body will feel lighter.