How Does Your Posture Affect You?
Having good posture isn’t just for looks– it can prevent back and neck pain that interfere with every day activities. An alarming 8 out of every 10 people will experience some kind of back pain at some point during their lives, and about half all working Americans will experience back pain at least once per year. Working towards good posture habits while sitting and working can go a long way in reducing or preventing back pain. Good posture while sitting or standing effectively reduces the weight that the spine and neck must bear. With less weight on the spine, vertebral compression can be avoided leaving the back in much better shape as aging occurs. Simply maintaining good posture habits can reduce the risk of pain and the excessive curvature of the spine that tends to happen in older age. The following 5 tips will help improve your posture and keep you standing tall at any age.
Identify Good Posture
In order to achieve good posture, you first need to know what good posture looks and feels like. There’s a little more to it than just sitting up straight!
- Using a full-body mirror, try to align ears, shoulders and hips so they form a straight line
- It may helpful to wear form-fitting clothing during this exercise, so you can better see where your hips and shoulders line up
- Your head will be too far forward if your ear is in front of your shoulder’s midpoint
- If you can see your shoulder blades protruding from your back, then your back is too rounded
- From the front, your shoulders should be level with each other
- If your hips are tilted forward and your lower back is arched, this indicates an anterior pelvic tilt
- Get comfortable looking at all of these points in the mirror so you can identify good and bad posture
- These tips apply to both standing and sitting
Get Up and Move Around
Sitting still for long periods of time causes muscle fatigue and leads to back pain. Unfortunately, most people work in office settings that require sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time. It can be hard to practice good posture in this scenario, so it is important to set aside small amounts of time to get up and move around. This helps to keep muscles from getting too stiff and hurting. The more you are able to walk around and do some gentle stretches or exercise at work, the better. Try setting a timer or an alarm to remind yourself to get out of your chair and stretch or take a quick walk at least every two hours.
Utilize Ergonomic Seating
If possible, try to get a chair that promotes good posture at work. Also, be aware of how much time you spend sitting at home while on the computer or reading. Ergonomic furniture can make a big difference in preventing back strains from poor posture. An investment in ergonomic seating at home and in the office can literally save you a lot of pain!
Strengthen Your Core Muscles
Your core needs to be strong to support the weight of your body properly. Without a strong core, maintaining good posture and preventing back pain is difficult. Yoga and pilates are ideal exercises for core strengthening and both will give you better posture over time. Yoga will teach you the discipline needed to hold a single position for long periods of time which directly applies to holding your body in the correct form to avoid strains on the back. Dance classes are a great way to have fun and get exercise that promotes a strong core and good posture as well.
Consider a Posture Brace
It may sound extreme, but back problems are serious and can be costly later on down the road. Back pain is the number one cause of missed work, and it ranks as the top reason for doctor visits among adults. A posture brace will give you a constant and firm reminder to sit and stand properly. It may be uncomfortable at first, but your back will thank you later on!
The SpineForce Core Strengthening Machine
For a total core workout that focuses specifically on strengthening weak core muscles around the spine, the SpineForce machine is ideal. It works up to 180 different muscles in the core and back that are crucial to good posture and a pain-free back. If you are experiencing trouble with posture and back pain, click here for more information on the SpineForce Core Strengthening Machine.
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