Improving your posture is important for looking good.
It is 2019 and we are sitting more than ever before.
According to a study conducted last year, the average American sits on a chair for a longer period of time than 8 hours.
Every single day.
Sitting the whole day increases the risk of injury, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Moreover, research on possible connections between bad posture and poor sleep is being done.
The term posture defines the way a person is positioned while sitting, standing, lying down or completing different tasks.
Even though we are not aware enough about it, the posture of our body is essential for our health.
Poor posture may cause neck and back pain, difficulty breathing, heartburn, headaches and so on.
The good news is there are a few tips and exercises you should become familiar with in order to improve your posture.
It won’t be easy at first but it will be 100% worth it since you will start to feel more aware of your own body afterwards.
The most important step towards a better posture is actually finding the correct position.
You have to follow a number of simple steps.
1. Sit at the end of your chair and slouch with your shoulders and neck.
2. Slowly pull your shoulders and neck up in a tall standing position, pushing your lower back forward. It is highly likely this is going to feel a bit uncomfortable.
3. Release the sitting position slightly and scoot back in the chair until your back has reached the backrest.
After you have found the right position, you have to make sure to keep it and as time goes by, to make it a habit!
It takes about 4 to 8 weeks to build up a habit.
So, do not feel discouraged in the beginning and keep going with the process.
Sit correctly and continue with the following:
1. Put a pillow or a rolled-up towel (be careful not to choose too large one) between the chair and your lower back. This way your back is going to be supported.
2. Adjust your chair so that your legs are parallel with the ground, knees even with your hips or slightly below.
3. Rest your feet on the floor. If you are wearing high heels, it is advisable to take them off. Try not to cross your legs because it may reduce blood flow and therefore cause muscle strain. If you can not reach the floor, use a stool or a footrest.
4. Put your screen at the level of your eyes (you can use a stack of books in the sake of it) and around an arm’s length away. When your screen is too low or too high it may be the reason for neck pain and eye strain.
5. Leave some space between the edge of your keyboard and your desk in order to give your wrists place where to rest.
6. Keep your mouse easy to reach and your wrist straight while using it.
7. Keep your most used objects near you so that you do not stretch all the time. This may cause muscle strain and even joint pain.
8. Use speakerphone or a handset if you are constantly on the phone.
9. Move around frequently. While you get your blood flowing by walking or with some sort of an exercise (like calf raises or squats if you have enough room), you will take a break from your computer as well. It is recommended to rest every 30 minutes or at least every hour for around 1-2 minutes.
It is crucial to maintain the right position for your body not only while you are at the computer, but when you are standing or lying down as well.
The following brief descriptions should serve you as a guide to a better posture in every situation.
When you stand, your feet should be flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
Stand tall like a string and let your arms relax by the sides of your body.
Your belly button should be pulled gently toward your spine, chin parallel to the ground.
Try not to lean on one leg since this may cause muscle imbalance around your pelvis.
In turn such imbalances may be the reason for lower back and buttocks muscle strain.
Do not carry your backpack on one shoulder because it may also result in uneven hips.
Still, do not panic – the exercises we have provided later in the article are going to help you correct any imbalances!
When you sit, keep your back and shoulders straight.
Again keep your feet on the ground and try not to cross your legs, nor your ankles.
Rest your forearms on the desk with your shoulders back.
In this case your chin should also be parallel to the floor.
Allowing your neck to lean forward while on the computer on the phone, may lead to poor posture and problems known as “text neck”.
Scientists have made the suggestion that a “text neck” may cause mutations in the brain.
When lying down and trying to maintain a good posture, you can do that by lying on your back or side.
Keep your spine aligned and try not to twist your waist.
If you feel any back pain, put a pillow underneath or between your legs – this trick should relieve it!
It is advisable not to sleep on your stomach since this position puts a lot of pressure on the neck, shoulder and back as it forces the neck to twist.
Along with the tips mentioned above, you can try a bunch of exercises too.
They will help you improve your posture when you are on the computer and even when you are standing.
If you hate working out, do not worry!
These exercises do not require any preliminary experience at the gym.
However, the movements will increase your muscle strength and flexibility.
1. Child’s pose
This yoga pose can be used as a resting position during a yoga or exercise session. It lengthens and stretches the spine and opens the hips.
Plank engages the muscles of the whole body. Especially shoulders, back and core which are all essential for good posture.
3. Cat-Cow pose
This position makes the neck, shoulders and spine more flexible and stretches the muscles of the hips, back, chest.
It is also said to relieve menstrual cramps or lower back pain.
4. Glute bridges
This exercise strengthens the glutes and the abdominal muscles, which will relieve stress in the lower back.
5. Chest stretch
All ladies who find building up a habit a hard task, we have a link in the sources of information at the end of the article.
Under the number 6 there is an article with a 30 days programme for an improved posture.
In the course of 4 weeks you will try different exercises and stretches which will release muscle strain, increase your flexibility and awareness of your body.
You will have to take only 8 to 20 minutes of your day to complete the daily programme.
In addition to regular stretching and being aware of your posture, there are some other tips we can give you to help you get that better posture.
Staying active is very important.
It does not really matter whether it is going to be cardio, strength training or just stretching.
All kind of exercise is good for both your physical and mental health.
It will help you build up the muscles that are needed for a good posture.
Wear comfortable shoes with a low heel since put a lot less stress on your muscles and joints.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Excess weight can weaken the core and put more pressure on the joints and ligaments.
It may seem as it is too much information but it is actually very easy to take the road to a better posture.
You just have to be focused while reading all tips and seriously decide that you want to change.
Start with small steps – for example pay attention to the way you stand or sit.
Then start to correct your posture by using the technique for finding the right one.
Try to incorporate some of the suggested exercises and stretches to feel low back pain release as soon as possible.
To see even better results, try to be more active in your everyday life since this will result in improved overall health and mood.
If you find it hard to remember to do the movements, set an alarm to remind you every morning.
You can do them every evening as well because they can also help you unwind and enjoy a better night’s sleep.
We are hoping that you have found this article helpful and will stand tall from now on (both literally and figuratively)!
Author: Ilina Stoyanova