Effective Ways to Improve Your Posture Now
After spending more time at home you might be left without the usual ergonomic tools you’re accustomed to, like office chairs or stand up desks. Or, let’s be real, maybe you’re spending a bit more time on the couch than usual. No judgement here, but the truth is that a sedentary lifestyle or improper work setup can wreak havoc on your posture.
Proper postural alignment is extremely important because it can not only enable the body to work more efficiently, but it can also prevent or relieve fatigue and strain on the body's ligaments, muscles, and spine. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Follow these few simple tips to prevent postural misalignment and improve your posture overall.
What To Aim For
The first step towards fixing your posture is knowing what good posture is in the first place.
Good posture should look like the image below: a line should be able to shoot from the top of your head, through your neck, and down the spine towards the ankles.
Hold your head level to your spine vertically and with the ground horizontally, while keeping your shoulders back.
Walking & Sitting
Now that you know what good posture looks like, let’s examine how to maintain it while doing daily activities, like walking and sitting.
While walking, make sure to maintain the straight back posture shown above, but also pay attention to the mechanics of your foot steps. Use the entirety of the bottom of your foot by landing on your heel, rolling forward, and pushing off the front palm of the foot. It’s also worth mentioning to avoid looking down at your phone while walking, as this will move your head forward and encourage a hunch. Some even say that tilting your head 30 degrees is like making your neck lift 40 pounds. Counteract this by holding your phone higher, closer to eye level.
You may have a tendency to hunch over when you sit down to work, but this habit can cause serious strain on the spine over time. Avoid this by keeping your shoulders against the back of your seat, keeping your knees in line with your hips, placing your feet flat on the floor, and importantly, keeping your head aligned with your spine vertically as mentioned earlier.
If you are looking at a computer, then it helps to keep the screen at eyesight level, which may be achieved by raising your computer with a mount (or even some books will do the trick). If you are typing on a keyboard, then make sure that your elbows and forearms are in line with the keyboard and mouse. This will allow your shoulders to relax comfortably by your sides. Choosing a desk or chair at an appropriate height can help achieve this.
Fixing Very Bad Posture
If you have very poor posture from years of bad habits, in addition to the daily awareness and corrections mentioned above, you should consider adopting daily exercises and stretches to slowly realign your spine. First, take a critical look at your own posture and determine where you can improve. Do you have lordosis, kyphosis, flatback, swayback, or forward neck posture? Sometimes it’s difficult to objectively analyze your own posture, so ask a trusted friend to give their opinion.
Once you know the state of your posture, develop a daily exercise and stretch program to address the damage. You can find a litany of stretch and exercise resources online from various sources, such as the Upright Health and Activ Chiropractic YouTube channels. Select a few that you can maintain everyday. Please remember that you should always visit a specialist if your needs are serious.
Keep At It
Maintaining good posture can be difficult because, at its core, it’s a habit. Therefore it requires attention and consistency to make a permanent change. You can set alarms or reminder notifications on your phone to prompt yourself to frequently correct your posture throughout the day. There are also various tools on the market, such as apps or wearable devices, that can provide reminders and corrections.
Proper posture is very important in maintaining overall health, but with changing work and home environments it can easily be compromised. Using these tips you can be well on your way to correcting bad posture and achieving an upright and confident stance.