Remember when you were a kid and your parents were always telling you to “stand up straight?” It turns out they were right, but not just because it looks better. Maintaining good posture is key to promoting good spinal alignment, which in turn prevents pain and improves balance.
But cultivating a more upright bearing isn’t as simple as trying to remember to stand tall. Try these these proper posture pointers to begin training yourself in better alignment.
Sit Up Straight
Easier said than done, right? It can take some effort at first to maintain good posture while sitting, but if you keep it up your muscles adapt and eventually it becomes second nature.
Consider the places you usually sit – your car seat, desk chair, living room sofa, for example. Are you able to sit up straight with your shoulders back and spine aligned, or do they cause you to hunch over? If so, seat inserts or lumbar supports may help. Be sure your workstation is ergonomically correct, with your monitor at eye level, feet on the floor and wrists extended from elbows.
Stand When You Can
There’s no two ways about it, standing is better for you than sitting. The more you stand, the better it is for your posture and standing also helps protect you from a host of health conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
No matter what your desk routine, be sure to stand, stretch, and walk every hour or so to stay limber and prevent hunching. And switching to a standing desk at work is an excellent way to prevent the health issues caused by sitting long hours.
Strengthen your Core
They may not seem directly related, but strong core muscles are necessary to keep your spine strong and hold it in the correct position. There are many excellent core exercises you can do at home to strengthen these deep muscles.
Yoga tones the torso — both abdominal and lower-back muscles — to stabilize your pelvis and keep your spine in a neutral position. And Pilates is all about posture and the core, so if you need real posture help, consider trying Pilates.
Set Up Reminders
For many of us, slouching and hunching are a very old habit, and changing habits isn’t easy. You might try putting reminder notes on your computer and refrigerator – even in your car – to check in with your posture throughout the day.