We often hear older people warning us about our posture. We often hear the phrase, “Stand up straight!” when someone catches us slouching. While it might seem unnecessary, having a great posture is actually very important. Your posture affects not only your appearance and self-esteem, but also your overall health. Read on to learn about the importance of the way you carry yourself and how to make sure you have good posture.
Effects of Good Posture
There are a few reasons why it’s worth it to put the time into standing and sitting up straight. Here are just a few of the positives you may enjoy if you make an effort to improve your posture.
1. Less Muscle Pain
Particularly in the back, neck, and shoulder muscles, you will often feel a painful sensation if you have a bad posture. With proper posture, you can avoid straining your muscles that may lead to chronic pain.
2. Improved Digestion
Another important effect of a good posture is having a good digestion process. If you are often slouching, your digestive system is often constricted and cannot work properly.
3. Better Blood Circulation
Having a good posture will allow your body to circulate the blood that carries oxygen to your organs properly. It is important not only for your cells to receive nutrition but also to avoid other disorders caused by poor circulation.
4. Less Risk of Medical Issues
Due to poor blood circulation, constricted nerves, and poor digestion, many disorders are often associated with bad posture. By improving your posture, you are at lower risk of experiencing one or more of the following:
- Cardiovascular Diseases
What Is Good Posture?
The main idea behind having a good posture is that your weight is evenly distributed to avoid unnecessary strain in other parts of your body. There’s a different posture for different positions you should take note of.
Whether you are sitting down or standing up, your body should be aligned so that your body weight is evenly distributed. A good posture is doing the following:
- Your chin should be parallel to the floor.
- Your spine should be neutral.
- Your shoulders should be rounded.
- Your abdominal muscles are braced.
- Your hips should be even.
If you stand with a good posture, you will feel your body weight is evenly distributed in both of your feet. Do not exaggerate the arch in your spine to overemphasize the curve in your lower back. You should keep it neutral so that your bones and muscles will not exert extra energy that is not necessary.
While you are sitting, your body weight is carried by your legs and hips. The posture for sitting is almost similar to a standing posture, with a few key differences.
- Avoid crossing your knees or ankles
- Keep your knees flat
- Roll back your shoulders slightly
- Forearms and knees should be parallel to the floor
- Elbows should be at an L-shape with your arms
- Look up, and avoid straining your neck
Even when you are sleeping, you can position your body in such a way that it can decrease the pressure on your spine and muscles. The best posture for sleep is the supine posture, or lying on your back, with your weight evenly distributed throughout your body. However, many people find this position uncomfortable to sleep in and tries to shift their weight to other body parts.
You can try to elevate your knees to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of the supine posture. Alternatively, you can lie on your side but make sure that your body is properly aligned in such a way that your weight is evenly distributed.
Tip: You can invest in memory foam for your bed and pillows to help you get the best sleeping experience.
How to Improve Posture
If you have less-than-idea posture, there are a few steps you can take to improve it.
The first step to help you fix your posture is exercising all the muscles involved in having a good posture, particularly your neck, shoulders, back, and legs. If these muscles are strong enough to hold your weight, you will have lesser problems training yourself to have the proper posture.
One of the best exercises to do to improve posture is planking. It helps strengthen the core, back, and leg muscles that are all necessary for a good posture.
2. Posture Braces
Having a posture brace can train you to stand upright, even if you find it difficult to have the correct posture. Posture braces are often used to remind you to sit or stand up straighter. With the help of a posture corrector brace, you can be more mindful of how you sit or stand up.
Most posture corrector braces can be hidden inside your clothes, so you do not have to worry about using it for everyday use. They are also specialized in different types of slouching to have more effective proper posture training.
3. Improve Your Workstation
Since most of your time will be spent while working, your workstation must be ergonomic.
Invest in a chair and desk that will help you sit up straight. You should also make sure that your monitor is slightly elevated so that your eyes are aligned with the center of your monitor.
Your knees should be straight, so you can buy a footrest to elevate your feet. Your shoulders should be rolled back when you are typing, so you might need to adjust your keyboard and mouse for easier access.
Another method, that is recently gaining more popularity, is having standing desks to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. You can also invest in a desk with adjustable heights to train yourself to have a proper posture, whether you are standing up or sitting down.
4. Adjust Your Car Seat
When you are driving, you might be tempted to recline your seat to relax your body. However, it can lead to bad posture. You should pull your seat closer to the steering wheel so that your spine will be at its neutral position. Then, your knees should be at hip level.
You can buy a specialized pillow for driving that can support your back and neck. This is important, especially if you are going to drive for long periods of time.
5. Avoid Heels
Sure, wearing heels can help you gain the confidence you want. However, they are bad for your posture. Since all your body weight will be pushed towards the tip of your toes that are not equipped to handle such stress, you often find yourself thrusting the base of your fine forward and, thus, create pressure on the nerves that can cause back pain.
While it is difficult to have a proper posture, you will see an improvement in how you stand quickly with the help of specialized tools and an active lifestyle. You can also mix and match the tips we have provided to increase your posture improvement greatly.