The entire lives we have been told to sit up straight with our shoulders back. However, between child and adulthood, we encounter a world where we are asked to sit, reach, pull, lift, bend, and complete a number of tasks. Over time, these actions affect the way we walk, sit, and stand because by the time we are in our adulthood we have developed habits that create poor posture.
Whether this overcompensation occurs because of injury or because our bodies have gotten used to sitting or standing in certain positions, correcting our postures can have a great impact on our overall well-being. Not only does posture affect our breathing but it can affect our balance and our moods and with time we can address the small issues that create big problems associated with posture.
Continue reading to learn more about how you can straighten up and improve your posture.
Be Aware Of Your Posture
You cannot address a problem if you are not aware of it. Because we get so used to looking at ourselves in the mirror, we do not pay attention to our gait. Have someone take a picture of you as you would naturally stand, and then take another picture of yourself with your head and shoulders properly aligned with the rest of your body with your head and shoulders back. This picture should not be from the front of the body, but along the side so that you can see the difference in your posture. Look at both pictures to compare both postures. These before and after pics will give you an idea of the condition of your posture.
The best way to correct issues related to posture is to find exercises that can help strengthen your core, improve your balance, and help stretch your body. Two of the best activities that will help you improve these three elements are yoga and Pilates. Both focus on teaching techniques that will show you how to stand correctly, breathe, stretch your body, strengthen your core, and find balance. One of the side benefits to these activities is that at low impact the exercises are great for beginners, people who are not comfortable with exercising at all or who cannot engage in strenuous exercises due to injury.
Purchase A Standing Desk
You can avoid the common office chair slump by purchasing a standing desk that forces your body to remain aligned. Many of these desks allow professionals to work comfortably and for a long time. Of the many desks available, the costs range in prices of less than a hundred to at most four or five hundred depending on your needs. The Varidesk Adjustable Standing Desk is one of the more popular models that feature a desk that is two-tiered and allows for minimal impact on your body. The desk is solidly built and from the reviews online it is one of the better options available on the market.
Get A Chair With Lumbar Support
A lot of back pain and poor posture comes from working while hunched over a desk. Another way to improve your posture at work is to purchase a desk that prevents you from slouching while at work. These desks typically provide support for the back in the lumbar region. The Kadirya High Back Mesh Office Chair, for example, provides professionals with the right support with a chair that almost seems shaped to the form of the human body. This chair is one of the more inexpensive options but seems to be a popular choice for professionals who find themselves working at a desk for long periods throughout the day.
Avoid High Heels Like The Plague
While high heels really can pull a look together, they can be the worst thing for the posture and feet. One of the reasons high heels are not good for the body is because they force the entire body forward, and to compensate, women tend to rest their torso on their hips. This inevitably creates a posture where the back and torso are not aligned with the rest of the body. Worse yet, heels interfere with your balance. Not that you have to totally discard fashion for health, but consider wearing a lower heel or maybe one that has more of a platform to avoid posture problems.
Watch How You Lift Objects
Another inhibitor to great posture relates to the way we lift objects. Most people pick up heavy boxes and objects by simply bending down and lifting them up without considering the stress on the back and the spine. This method of lifting exposes the body to back strain, which can interfere with posture if it is not allowed to heal. Proper lifting requires that the individuals bend down at the knee to pick up objects. In this way, when you do pick up the object, you have the full support of your legs, torso, and arms to lift the object, and thus reduce injury.
Avoid Text Neck
Technology has made living in general very convenient and efficient, but in this one way, it has also created another, less positive, issue. Text neck is a condition experienced by anyone with a cell phone, and it occurs as we slightly bend our necks over to look at the texts on our phone. Now, checking your phone infrequently throughout the day should be harmless, but when you consistently are bending over to text and check messages it does begin to affect your posture. While you do not necessarily have to give up your text conversations, you can avoid this condition by simply stretching your neck regularly.
Learn To Breathe Properly
Our breathing has a great impact on our posture and in many ways can prevent back problems. A lot of the time the stressors in our lives caused by work and family are a source of great anxiety. When we are stressed, we breathe through the diaphragm and chest, and this can be detrimental to our posture. While it certainly requires focus, be sure to pay attention to the way in which you breathe. As opposed to breathing from the diaphragm and chest, breathe from your abdomen. This technique not only allows you to take in deep breaths, but it also forces your body to align itself in the correct position.
Use Ergonomic Posture-Friendly Props
Back strain occurs for a variety of reasons and in many cases, the root causes are due to unhealthy ways that we sit and stand throughout the day. However, when we are not at work, there are ways that we can alleviate some of the stresses on our body. While sleeping, there are a number of rests available that support our neck and head while sleeping. For example, the REARAND Neck and Shoulder Chiropractic Pillow can alleviate the stress on our neck when we are sleeping. The product is popular with many people reporting that it addresses many of the problems associated with upper body back pain.
Invest In A Good Posture Brace
If you find that your body is constantly under stress because of your employment, a body brace that can be worn under clothing can address posture issues while allowing you to function at your job, especially if your work requires you lift objects daily. These braces typically provide the wearer with support to keep the head, neck, and back aligned. The Flexguard Support Back Brace Corrector, for example, provides the back with the support necessary and provides major support for the spine. If suffering from upper back pain, this great product can help to alleviate pain in the shoulders and neck.
Do Not Slump
Because of the amount of time that we spend in front of a computer or even sitting at a desk, it is easy to develop posture problems. Office chairs that are hard or that do not provide the adequate support are not only comfortable to sit in, but they also are the reason behind many of the common posture problems we encounter. To prevent poor posture, avoid the common desk slump that has your entire torso hunched over a desk or a computer screen. One way to avoid slumping is to purchase office chairs that allow you to sit at 135o angle. This places less stress on your back by allowing you to remain seated with your head, neck, torso, and legs in alignment.
Avoid Heavy Handbags
Another major posture killer is the innocuous handbag. Whether the bag is a schoolbag, a backpack, or a regular handbag, these items can potentially be the cause of poor posture. Bags with too many items, like books and other objects, for example, are heavy, and even though they can make carrying items much easier, this heavy load has a direct effect on how your body moves. As opposed to continuing to carry a huge load, that often creates a posture that leans to one side or worse yet back problems, consider lightening the load. In fact, by downsizing your bag, you might find that you do not need to carry your entire life with you every day.
Stress has been linked to back problems and back problems, in turn, create the conditions that result in poor posture. Upper and lower back pain can quickly lead to poor posture, especially if these problems have been left unchecked by a physician. The best way to reduce the stress in your life is to rid yourself of the people and the objects that create stress in your life whether they are work-related stressors or family-related stressors. Avoid bringing work-related stressors home by keeping conversations about work to a minimum. Conversely, find ways to avoid home-related stressors by finding activities outside the home that can alleviate being around the person that causes you to be stressed.
Use Online Apps For Advice
Just like technology has made life more efficient and convenient in allowing us to complete a range of activities, online apps can be downloaded that can help with posture. Cameras that alert us of when we are sitting or standing are available and give workers a visual of their posture while they are working. Similarly, people who spend a lot of time at their desk can purchase chair sensors that will alert them of when they are sitting poorly. If you find that you have to spend a lot of time working at a desk or standing, these apps can be easily downloaded to both PCs and mobile devices.
Seek Advice From The Experts
If all else fails, consider seeking the advice of a medical professional. Many posture problems are the result of upper and lower back pain problems that have been ignored for too long. A medical professional can diagnose and treat common problems through a variety of therapies. If the problems are severe enough, medical experts can suggest the appropriate medication and surgeries needed to correct the problem. If the problems are not severe enough, these same professionals can suggest alternative therapies and exercises to correct the problems. Alternatively, your chiropractor can give you a good back crack to help alleviate back problems associated with posture issues.
Tips To Standing Tall
Proper spine and back support really is the key to great posture. While it might seem like some of these solutions are going to yield minimum results, the above suggestions can go a long way to prevent injury and the habits that are created from poor back support. Ultimately, over time, your focus on posture will improve your strength, which, will help to support your all around well being.
If you loved our ‘15 Tips to Improve Posture’, then you might be interested to read our ‘5 Best Back Pain Support Belts on Amazon’ article.