Poor posture can cause a variety of aches and pains, including headaches, neck and back pain, sore joints, and general fatigue. Maintaining proper posture is especially important for people that lead sedentary lives or who spend their time at work sitting behind a desk. The good news is that with a little bit of knowledge and effort, anyone can improve their posture. Below are some of the most effective tips and techniques for making it happen:
Identify Good Posture:
The first step in achieving good posture is to know what it looks like. To begin, stand straight up and facing sideways in front of a mirror. Your weight should be evenly distributed through your feet. Ideally, you should be able to visualize a straight line running from the middle of your earlobe, down through the center of your shoulder and hips, and continuing to the center of your ankle. Keep in mind that the spine has a natural S-shaped curve, so do not be alarmed if your back doesn’t look completely straight. In general, good posture will require you to stand with your chin held high, your chest pushed out, and your shoulders squared.
One of the most effective methods of reinforcing good posture involves strengthening the muscles that keep your body aligned. Exercises that target the upper back, shoulders, legs, and core are the most effective. For many people, working out once or twice per week will have a drastic impact on their posture, since weak muscles can cause imbalances that lead to slouching or drooping.
Along with exercise, basic stretching can go a long way toward alleviating aches and pains caused by bad posture. The neck and lower back are particularly vulnerable to becoming stiff or sore, so practice dynamic stretches that target those areas. Yoga can be an excellent way to learn effective stretches and develop better bodily control, while foam rollers can be used to deeply massage painful areas.
Most of the pain relating to bad posture stems from muscles becoming tired and strained with overuse. Worse still, this fatigue can cause your posture to break down without you even realizing it. Because of this, it is important to take periodic breaks in order to get up, change positions, and use other muscles when you have the opportunity.
Use Ergonomic Products:
There are many products specifically designed and marketed for people wishing to improve their posture. An ergonomic chair or cushion is an incredibly worthwhile investment for anyone that spends long hours sitting down, while shoes with ergonomic soles or special inserts are an ideal choice for people that work on their feet. Posture-correcting braces can also be worn to encourage proper back alignment throughout the day.
Avoid the Slouch:
Correcting bad posture often involves making a conscious effort to reverse years of ingrained behavior. One of the most common sources of back, shoulder, and neck pain is slouching while standing or seated. Slouching generally involves hunching the back, rolling the shoulders forward, and looking downward. To correct a slouch, it is important to focus on walking with confidence: keeping your head high and your chest puffed out will force your body to correct its alignment naturally.
Over time, bad posture habits become increasingly more ingrained through muscle memory. However, for those that are willing to try out the tips and techniques above, it is never too late to correct those habits and alleviate the pain caused by bad posture.
Author: Abrar Ali Harrar