Everyday Tips for Improving Your Posture
Poor posture can feel like an unavoidable problem. Daily activities like sitting in an office chair, wearing a backpack, driving, and looking down at a cell phone can lead to bad posture habits. If left alone for too long these practices can lead to neck and back pain due to spine damage. The good news is that change is not as impossible as it may seem. We have several suggestions for steps you can take to improve your posture.
Stay Aligned, Whether You Are Standing or Sitting
Increased posture awareness has led to a rise in standing desk culture, but the movement misses the point of how poor posture occurs in the first place. While those who sit are more inclined to slump into positions uncomfortable and stressful on their spines, standing can be just as liable for bad posture habits. The key is in your alignment and weight distribution.
When standing, you want your body weight evenly distributed throughout the front, sides, and back of the feet. Applying too much pressure on one end puts too much stress on that point of the body. The points without stress may relax and get weaker due to lack of stimulation. When sitting, you can put your chair’s features to your advantage. On most office chairs, you should sit up straight with shoulders, ears, and hips aligned to an imaginary vertical line that goes down the center of your body. Unevenly crossing legs, hunching your shoulders, and leaning too far to one side are indicators that you have fallen back into bad posture.
Watch Out for Poor Ergonomic Design
Ergonomics is the study of making a product or environment natural for the human body. A chair with poor ergonomics would be one with no armrests and very flat cushioning. In this example, the faulty design can pressure your spine by making your body tense for long periods of time. Not all items are as obvious, but you can pinpoint them with some discretion. If you feel inconsistent back pain, keep a journal to record when you feel discomfort. After one or two weeks, you may be able to find a pattern for your pain.
Wear Supportive Footwear
Most shoes are designed with style in mind rather than practicality. High heeled shoes, for example, can alter your center of gravity and disturb your spinal alignment. Such shoes may be fine to wear sparingly; however, they can lead to painful feelings in your feet, legs, and back if used too often. Dedicated walking or running shoes can better support your feet.
Exercise to Prevent Injury
If you can spare the time, dedicate an hour each day to exercise. Taking a daily walk or carrying out a stretching routine can be enough to help condition your body against injury. Aerobic workouts like running, biking, and swimming can lead to improved results. Posture is no different than any other aspect of health. You should remain acutely aware of your body’s positioning, especially if you are someone who experiences episodes of back pain. Those who find it difficult to adjust to healthier posture positions may have a deeper condition related to their spine. For a thorough examination of back pain, contact the Spine Institute for an appointment.