Maintaining good posture is as important as following a healthy diet and doing regular exercises for good health. The body is designed to be symmetrical. So, the use of muscles on the left and right sides should be balanced. “if you are not maintaining a good posture you are bringing improper alignment into everything you do and this will reduce your efficiency of everything from your workouts to your energy levels”, says well-known physiologist Pete Egoscue.
The most common causes of posture problems are:
- Spending a lot of time hunched over while seated
- Putting more weight on one leg while standing
- Usage of smartphones
- Sleeping in the wrong position
- Carrying a heavy bag on the same side of the body for a long period of time
Here are some tips to improve posture:
- While sitting: If you have a desk job, it is hard to maintain a correct position throughout the day due to too much sitting. To maintain a good posture, be mindful – keep reminding yourself to ensure good posture. Here are some tips for good posture:
- Keep your back straight and prevent your shoulders from rolling forward.
- Do not cross your legs. Adjust the chair height and keep your feet on the ground by maintaining a 90-degree angle by bending your knees.
- Take breaks in between to reduce the stress on your spine and to prevent muscle fatigue and stiffness.
- Relax your shoulders.
- Ensure that your back is fully supported. If there is no backrest on your chair, place a pillow on the back side or any other back support to support your lower back’s curve.
- Have a well-padded seat to support your hips and thighs. It should be parallel to the floor.
- Keep your elbows close to your body and bent between 90 and 120 degrees.
- Get up and walk around a few minutes every hour or so.
- While Standing: If a busy schedule keeps you standing for long periods of time, it’s more likely that you will lean forward and hunch over while standing. Following these tips can help you maintain good posture while standing:
- Keep your shoulders back.
- Let your arms hang down naturally at your sides.
- Pull your stomach in.
- Position your legs straight not locked.
- Try to keep your weight on the balls of your feet.
- Push your feet into the floor and lengthen your spine.
- Keep your feet about shoulder width-apart.
- Your head, shoulders, hips and knees should be in straight line.
- While sleeping in bed: Lying on your back with a pillow under your head to level with your spine is the good posture while you sleep. Ensure that your spine is aligned and avoid twisting of your waist. Avoid sleeping on your tummy, as it can create tension in the lower back. Sleeping on your side or back is helpful for back pain. Place a pillow between your legs if you prefer sleeping on your side, and place a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back. It will also increase the effectiveness of your sleep.
- While lifting: Reduce the strain on your spine to prevent the injury while lifting. Avoid bending and twisting at the same time when lifting an object. Instead, face the object, then bend at the knees not the back. Before lifting the object, move close to and directly in front of the object, your feet should be flat on the floor and shoulders are apart. Lift the object smoothly by bending the knees. Repeat the same to put the object down.
- While driving: Always position your seat close to (not too close) the steering wheel and keep your knees a little higher than your hips. Adjust the lumbar support of the car to support the curve of your back. After driving or while you are sitting in a heavy traffic, don’t forget to stretch yourself, you can rotate your trunk to one side for five seconds while keeping your back straight and then rotating it to the other side.
Poor posture can affect your entire skeletal system and also your health as you age. According to bicrad.com, poor posture can lead to changes in spine alignment, misalign the musculoskeletal system, digestion problems, chronic back pain, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, nerve constriction, and subluxations. Maintaining good posture throughout the day is a very crucial part of taking care of yourself. There are also various exercises that you can do to improve your posture, such as Child’s Pose, Forward Fold, Cat Cow, etc.