Importance of Improved Posture
Maintaining a good posture is a big part of your health. It ensures that your bones are well aligned with the rest of the body, while the tension in your muscles and ligaments is properly distributed. Moreover, it keeps the body parts in their natural positions with minimal stress. Proper posture will;
- Enable muscles to coordinate in a more efficient manner, ensuring the body utilizes less energy, thus eliminating muscle fatigue. This allows you to undertake tasks for longer periods with minimal exhaustion.
- Hold the spinal joints in place, which is essential in maintaining a good posture. With less stress on the ligaments, coupled with aligned spinal joints, the possibility of injury is greatly reduced.
- Aid in preventing back and muscular pain, all which are signs of a poorly relaxed body. Thus eliminating a myriad of other ailments that may accompany such issues.
- Decrease the abnormal wearing of joints by keeping them and the bones properly aligned. By ensuring our muscles are used correctly and that no wear or tear occurs, chronic risks like arthritis are reduced.
Getting a good posture should not be considered a big mental task or a constant bother. In fact, the body is designed to maintain normal posture unconsciously via certain muscles. Although you should be aware of your posture to a given degree, outlined below are some tips to help you out.
How many of us have or continue to suffer the effects of poor posture without realizing it? Think you have good posture? Try this test: have a family member, co-worker or friend take a picture of you, without you knowing it while working and/or relaxing at home. Look at your posture. What is it telling you? Are you slumped over your Smartphone, tablet or a good book? Are you sitting upright or slouching over your computer. Are you leaning off to one side or supporting your head with your elbow propped on your desk?
The set-up of your workstation is very important in promoting proper posture. Your chair should be adjustable to allow your feet to be flat on the floor with your hips and knees at 90 degrees. Also, your computer monitor or laptop screen should be eye-level to keep you from looking down. The keyboard and mouse need to be as close as possible to you to prevent you from overreaching and hunching your back.
Remember that your body is meant to move. Staying in one position too long can lead to poor posture. Take frequent breaks from prolonged sitting. Need to speak to Pamela in HR, get up and go see her instead of writing an email or calling. Take the stairs when possible or go for a short walk at lunch. There are a number of ways to help improve your posture but all of them start with getting active.
How To Improve Posture?
The most important step to correcting your posture is to be aware of your body. Shoulders should be pulled back with your head upright and not protruding forward. There should be a healthy ‘s’ shape curve to your spine. This may feel uncomfortable at first but after awhile it will all come naturally.
Yoga and Pilates are a great way to improve flexibility and help prevent strains associated with poor posture. Foam Rollers are great for rolling out the back to stretch out the muscles. They can be used in every area of the body and come in different densities and sizes. A long medium-firm density roller is suitable for back exercises as the user can lie lengthways on the roller and massage out the entire length of the back. Resistance bands can be used for an extensive full body workout that challenges almost every muscle in your body. Maintaining a fit body can make everyday tasks easier decreasing your risk of back pain or strain. If you have nasty trigger points on your back from incorrect posture you can use an Atlas Trigger Point Ball to massage them out.
Wearing a posture support brace can also help to act as a reminder as well as support.
Using a combination of exercise, support and being aware of your body will all contribute to correct posture and a healthier, happier you!
Top 10 Tips To Improve Body Posture
Modern day lifestyle and the unhealthy food and habits that people have these days have caused many health-related problems for people of all ages, one such issue being improper body posture. This is a result of many poor health practices and can have severe consequences. An improper body posture affects your energy, health and your attitude, at the same time, it results in medical problems such as backbone issues, backache, and accelerated aging process. Therefore to remain healthy, it is very important that people aim for a more perfect and healthy body posture.
Following is the list of ten tips which are helpful in getting a proper body posture.
- Moving or doing a workout at regular intervals.
- Sitting on chairs with comfortable and sufficient lumbar support in a correct seating posture.
- Sleeping on your back on a firm mattress
- Proper use of pillows while sleeping
- Regular Exercising
- Avoiding wearing high heels
- Maintaining a correct standing posture
- Trying to avoid any kind of stress
- Being Confident
All the tips are described below:
Moving Or Doing A Workout At Regular Intervals
These days most of the people are engaged in jobs and spend huge hours in front of a computer, or jobs which require employees to sit at desks. Sitting in the same position for long hours has severe consequences, one of which is that the muscles get stiff from being in the same position. The result is that the person begins feeling fatigued, achy and unmotivated. The only remedy to this is “max body movement“. This requires you to make a habit of getting up from the regular seating position in front of the computer and move for a minute or two. This should be done at least once every half hour.
Standing Properly: Ensure that your weight is on the soles of your feet, there should be 4-5 inches distance between your feet, tuck your stomach in and have your hands hanging naturally at your sides. All the while maintaining a straight and tall stature.
Sitting On Chairs With Sufficient Lumbar Support In A Correct Seating Posture
Again, if we consider the fact that sitting at a particular position for long hours is a necessity for most of the jobs these days, you should ensure your chair provides ample lumbar support. The chair’s backrest should have natural curves that fit into the hollow of the lower back. When you sit on the chair your spine should be in contact with the backrest starting from the tailbone to the upper back. You can even use a posture brace for Clavicle Support and Upper Back Correction.
You should sit comfortably and properly on a chair, for example, while working on a computer or sitting for some project for a long time, your computer screen should be at eye level. Both the arms and wrists should be supported by the chair and table, and your head should be centered on your shoulders. Your body weight should be on the back of your upper thighs, and the pelvis should slightly tilt forward.
Sitting Properly: Ensure that your feet are on the floor, or on a footrest rather than hanging mid-air, keep your knees at or below your hip level, maintain relaxed shoulders with your forearms at a parallel position to the ground, and have your backrest support your entire back.
Sleeping On Your Back And On A Firm Mattress
This is a best posture corrector advice that almost everyone gets from their parents. However, most people forget this and start sleeping on their sides. This can be an unhealthy habit and must be avoided when possible. There are many benefits of sleeping straight on your back, one of them is an improvement in your body posture and is probably the most important. When you sleep flat on your back, your spinal cord gets full support from the bed. Such position of sleeping also ensures the proper alignment of your shoulders (i.e. while sleeping flat on the back the shoulders are properly aligned with the body). If this practice is continued for a prolonged period, the body gradually starts retaining its better posture.
You should also preferably sleep on a firm mattress, rather than a fluffy mattress as it provides better support while sleeping.
Preferable Lying Position: A major secret to sleeping properly is having a good and comfortable mattress. If you prefer a hard one that’s okay and if you feel comfy on a softer one, then that’s fine. Always support your head with a pillow so that is at an elevated position to the rest of your body to aid in blood circulation. And avoid lying on your stomach.
Proper Use of Pillows While Sleeping
Despite the regular instructions from the doctors and other experts, we often tend to forget the importance of selecting the right pillow for ourselves and it results in many physical problems, such as a headache, shoulder ache and may sometimes even lead to insomnia.
Using a proper pillow has an important role to play in good posture as well. The type of pillow which might be perfect for you depends upon your body construction and your sleeping style. If you sleep on your back for most of the time, then a flat pillow helps a person gain better body posture, but just the opposite helps the person to gain a better body posture if you mostly sleep on your sides. One can also place a pillow below knees (if sleeping on your back) to reduce strain on the lower lumbar region.
Avoiding High Heels
There is no doubt that High heels are a fashion trend here to stay. Ironically, the shoes which apparently enhance the self-confidence of women often result in throwing the body out of alignment. if you regularly wear high heels, it will alter the center of gravity of the body, and the body will lose its perfect posture. So if a better body posture is desired, you must choose your health over your fashion. Actually, it’s better if you stop wearing them altogether. If that’s not possible then flat heels should be preferred over pencil heels. A good rule is to only wear heels when you must and always wear smaller heels.
Regular exercising also helps maintain better body posture. Exercising daily will result generally in a better posture. You can make improvements with as little as 15 minutes a day in light exercise and that is a good recommendation to keep.
However, while exercising; you should aware of your stamina. You should not over-strain yourself and, as always, consult a medical professional efore eginning any new exercise program.
Avoiding Certain Unhealthy Habits
Poor diet habits are the cause of various problems including improper body posture. Your body is a machine and it needs the proper materials and fuel to rebuild itself and keep running. Choosing to eat fast food, heavily processed foods and failing to eat enough vegetables, lean meats and fruits will deprive your body of the good materials it needs to maintain strong bones and muscles which are the structure that keeps us upright. Filling up on fast foods starves your body of the good fuel it needs to give you the energy to work, exercise and be active.
Cell phone use: Using a cell phone is not only a convenience but a necessity in today’s society, especially among the young. They use it day and night, but using these gadgets in an improper manner often lead to various health-related issues. You should avoid the improper ways of using a cell phone. For example, tilting the head while talking on the phone or slouching the head forward while texting on a smartphone should be avoided. Some habits include keeping your hands in your pockets for long hours, bending your body forward while using a laptop and watching TV.
Maintaining A Correct Standing Posture
Some effort should be taken to maintain a correct standing posture. For this, it is important to have a proper knowledge of the correct standing position. Standing with feet shoulder-width apart without overlapping the knees, the head should be in line with the spine and eyes straight ahead with the chin parallel to the floor is a perfect standing body posture.
To maintain a proper standing posture, you must distribute the weight evenly on both feet. Some distance (4 to 5 inches) should be maintained between both feet to make them align with the shoulders. To check how well you are maintaining your proper posture, stand with your heels against a straight wall. You should feel the wall against each section of our body except for the slight curve in your lower back. If you cannot feel it anywhere, press your body back against the wall. This will help adjust your posture to proper stance.
Trying To Avoid Any Kind of Stress
This step is easier said than done, we know. We all have stress in almost all the spheres of life, whether it’s personal or professional, and it is almost impossible for us to avoid all the stress we encounter in daily lives. But it is important that you should not let the stress affect your life so much that you cannot function properly. This is important because if the stress level of a person becomes too high, its effect becomes apparent in the body. It might result in the tension in the muscles which are most commonly used to maintain your posture and can cause slouching.
A confident person sits upright, looks straight and, in turn, means that the person has a better body posture. It works the other way as well. Having better posture, stronger muscles, healthier bones, and less pain in your body will allow you to do more and feel better which all helps boost your self-confidence.
So better posture will boost your confidence, which will make you feel better about yourself which will make you stand up straighter and be motivated to exercise and eat right which will strengthen your body which leads to better posture and so on, and so on…..
Top Exercise For Improving Body Posture
Here are the top exercises to improve posture:
Shoulder Blade Exercise
Weakness and lack of endurance in the muscles that hold the shoulder blades back and flat against the rib cage results in a rounded shoulder posture. This increases the difficulty of sitting or standing tall with the shoulders back.
Purpose: Strengthen and improve coordination in the stabilizing muscles of the shoulder blade.
Technique: Lie on your front with a towel under the forehead. Place arms by your side. Turning the palms down, pull the shoulder blades down and squeeze them together. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Ensure that you maintain your neutral spinal position and do not shrug the shoulders.
The weakness of the muscles at the front of the neck and stiffness through the neck joints leads to a forwards poking of the head and chin. This increases the difficulty of sitting or standing tall with the spine in alignment.
Purpose: Strengthen the muscles at the front of the neck and gently relax and lengthen the spinal muscles.
Technique: Sit up tall from your lower back. Tuck the chin in backward while pulling up to lengthen your spine. Hold for 10 seconds.
Upper Back and Chest Roller Stretches
Poor posture leads to a shortening of the chest muscles and stiffening of the upper back. These stretches open the chest and stretch the upper back in the opposing direction to how we often find ourselves sitting with a slumped posture.
Purpose: Relax and lengthen the chest muscles.
Technique: Lying on your back with a roller vertical, with both the head and pelvis supported. Place the palms up and stretch the arms out to the side and allow them to relax towards the floor. Move the arms up and down to find the position in which you are most tight. This stretch should be felt in the chest and front of the arm. Once you feel a comfortable but firm stretch, hold for 1 minute.
Upper Back Stretch
Purpose: Stretch the muscles and joints of the upper back.
Technique: Lying on your back, place your foam roller behind you in the upper back region. Support your head with your hands and extend the back over the roller. You should feel a stretch in the upper back. Do not push this stretch if you find it uncomfortable.
Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexor muscles become shortened when sitting for prolonged periods or due to poor posture and weak core control when standing for prolonged periods.
Purpose: Stretch the hip flexor muscle
Technique: Kneel down in a lunge position, with the front foot flat on the ground and the back leg resting on the ground. Tilt the pelvis backward and lean slightly forward onto the front leg. You should feel a stretch at the front of the hip. Once you feel a comfortable but firm stretch, hold for 1 minute. Repeat on the other side.
Poor posture leads to a decrease in strength of the core muscles that help us to sit and stand upright. This exercise combines two movements to strengthen both the core and the shoulder blade stabilizers.
Purpose: Strengthen core and shoulder blade stabilizers
Technique: This exercise can be completed with a resistance band or with cable weights. Attach the band to an anchor at about waist height or adjust the cables to the same height. Stand to face the anchor point, holding the two ends with the arms forward. Allow the shoulder blades to relax forwards. Start the movement by setting the shoulder blades down and back and setting the core. Squat to a depth you feel comfortable and at the same time pull the arms back with elbows bent and squeeze the shoulder blades together.
Myths of Posture Correction
There’s something about good posture that makes a person look more confident, respectable, and authoritative. But while striving to improve your posture is a good idea, there are a lot of harmful myths out there that could damage not only your efforts to improve but your posture itself. We’re going to debunk some of the most common myths about posture.
Myth #1: It’s hard To Achieve And Maintain Good Posture
Because it’s more mechanically efficient, good posture actually takes less effort to maintain and is, therefore, less taxing on your brain than bad posture. Yes, it’s a challenge to change patterns you’ve been stuck in for most of your life, but you can change any habit with enough awareness and dedication. Create measurable and realistic goals to slowly overcome those habits and replace them with better ones.
Myth #2: Tucking Your Pelvis Protects Your Back
The natural curves of a neutral spine act like a spring, absorbing force and bearing weight. Tucking your pelvis reverses your lower back’s curve, which makes your spine like a bent spring, unable to absorb any force efficiently. This is exactly why I don’t recommend full sit-ups! Your body is fully capable of doing these movements, but it doesn’t mean you should train it to do so. Without sufficient help from the spine, your body starts using unfit backup muscles to complete tasks, and you end up injuring your knees trying to pick up a heavy object or straining your neck while turning your head.
Myth #3: Strong ABS Equal Better Posture
Developing core strength has been trendy for as long as I’ve been studying health, but many people don’t fully understand the term “core”. They think that if they have strong abs, they have a strong core. Your core does include your abdominal muscles, but it also includes your pelvic floor, diaphragm, certain back muscles, the psoas muscle, and more. If your abs are strong but your back muscles are weak, your posture will be inefficient and painful.
Myth #4: Good Posture Involves Pushing Your Shoulders Down And Back
One of the most common overcorrections people make when trying to fix their posture is to throw their shoulders back and hold them there. This actually destabilizes your shoulder joints and tenses your neck. Plus, you’ll soon get tired and let your shoulders slump again. Once you change your postural habits, your shoulders will sit in the right place without effort.
Myth #5: Standing Up Straight Shows Good Posture
When you force yourself to stand up straight without awareness of your natural posture, you actually create more tension in your body, not less. Treating your spine like a pillar will only limit your mobility and make you move like a robot. We have curves in our spine to absorb force. Optimizing the alignment and fluidity of movement while maintaining those curves is essential for back health and efficient posture.
Myth #6: Bad Posture is Genetic And Unchangeable
If you believe you’re stuck where you are, then you will be. Every time a patient tells me their problem is genetic, I get a bad case of Forest Whitaker eye! Look, if your spine problem was genetic, you’d most likely not be alive as an adult because most “genetic spine” problems result in death 5 years or younger. In fact, it’s estimated that less than 2% of health problems today are genetic. If you believe you can work to make a change, then you can. Your brain is adaptable enough to learn new movements and habits at any age; so use it!
Myth #7: Slouching isn’t That Bad For You
Sometimes supermodels get paid to slouch in photo spreads, but in everyday life, the effects of bad posture can be serious. The Headaches and Back Pain that poor posture causes can be debilitating. In fact, bad posture can negatively affect almost everything, from digestion and circulation to mental health.
Myth #8: Working In Front of A Computer is Physically Easy
Sure, you don’t have to swing a hammer or move heavy boxes, but if you hunch over a desk all day, your posture is probably in terrible shape. And as you now know, when your posture is unhealthy, your spine is unhealthy and that means it’s harder for your body to be healthy. Luckily, certain strategies like using a standing desk and taking frequent breaks can let you keep both your desk job and your natural posture.
Myth #9: Posture Has To Be Held. If You Have To Hold It, it’s Not Sustainable
Your body is designed for movement, and stability comes from balanced, dynamic movement patterns, not from locking yourself into a so-called good posture. Being stuck in one position creates tension and unbalanced movement patterns. Efficient posture, on the other hand, lets you move in any direction freely and spontaneously. Motion is lotion for your joints – so keep ’em moving!
Myth #10: Good Posture Means Never Slouching
Slouching and flexing are movements you have available to you. You don’t want to stay in those positions all the time, but it’s good to move through them— it keeps your joints lubricated and mobile. Notice how you’re sitting as you read this. Now round forward as deeply as you can, then press through your feet and lengthen your spine. Do that a few times and notice how your resting posture improves.
As with most of life, achieving and maintaining good body posture involves doing many different things and involves both your body and your mind. Retraining yourself out of bad habits and into good ones takes time and effort. You must stick with it to get the best results. Eating right, exercising daily, arranging your environment properly, managing your stress well and maintaining good habits should not be done just to maintain better posture, but to maintain a better life. Looking better and standing straighter will be added benefits to leading a healthier, happier and active life.Myths of Posture Correction
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