If you were to ask 100 people on the street if having good posture is important, chances are all 100 would say yes.
That’s because standing with proper posture is something that affects us every minute of every day.
If our posture is good, we have more energy, feel better, and are in a better mood.
And if we have poor posture, then the opposite is true: we’re tired all the time, feel like crap, and are in constant pain.
It’s surprising then, despite how important having good posture is, that nobody ever talks about it. And pretty much everyone has awful posture!
In this article, we’ve compiled a full guide on keeping proper posture, along with heaps of tips for you to start using today.
How is poor posture defined?
Poor posture is when our body leans to one side, which causes the shoulder blades and hips to lean in opposite directions, causing an uneven distribution of weight. It could also mean leaning forward or backward, as can happen with some disorders of the spine.
It also twists up our neck and back muscles, while pushing down on the discs in between each vertebra in your spine. As a result of this pressure, people experience all kinds of back pain.
In fact, in the United States, 65% of people report having recent back pain, while 16% report having chronic back pain.
What are the benefits of good posture?
There are numerous benefits to having proper posture. The biggest benefit, of course, is that you feel better.
Simply by standing or sitting up straight, your energy levels will increase. You’ll be happier and less tired throughout the day, feeling more alert at work or wherever else you may be.
And because all of this newfound positivity comes from simply changing the way you hold yourself, people will notice it and treat you better, whether at work or just in public.
Having good posture will improve your immune system
As a result of all this alignment, people with good posture have been shown to have stronger immune systems, which is why they’re less likely to get sick.
In addition to being more positive and healthier overall, there are loads of other benefits that come along with having proper posture. They include:
-things you wear look better on you
-you have a more muscular upper body (which makes you look more attractive, especially if you’re male)
-back pain decreases tremendously (if not disappears completely)
-you don’t feel as tired during the day; instead, you’ll have an endless supply of energy
-your joints stay healthier, which means you won’t have to worry as much about arthritis and other similar conditions
In short, having good posture can change your life in a number of ways.
Having good posture will put you in a better mood
It also increases your energy levels because it reduces fatigue. This is because when your body is aligned, less energy has to go towards supporting you, which means more energy can be used for other things.
As a result of good posture, you’re also in a better mood! Your brain releases neurotransmitters that naturally make us happy and relaxed when we have good posture.
And of course, we’ll be healthier and have less pain.
How does good posture affect our brains?
One study at the University of Texas-Austin conducted an experiment to see if people with better posture actually feel more confident. They used participants wearing suits because they thought it would help keep their back and shoulders in the correct position throughout the day; those without suits were able to slouch and lean however they wanted.
They were given a number of tasks to complete, such as speaking in front of a crowd or solving math problems on the spot.
The results showed that participants who had correct posture throughout the experiment also felt more confident about their abilities than those with poor posture.
What’s more, those with correct alignment also had higher testosterone levels, which has been shown to make you feel more confident.
Even though it was a small study, these results show that having your spine properly aligned can improve your mood and self-esteem.
What are the main causes of poor posture?
The main cause of bad posture is lack of exercise. Over time, as we sit and stand in one way, we’re not building up those muscles that keep us upright.
It’s as simple as that: if you don’t use it, you lose it. Your muscles will be weak and flimsy, so they won’t be able to hold your body upright.
Another cause of poor posture is stress. The more stressed you are, the more your shoulders and back will be hunched.
The less time we spend exercising and the more stressed we are, the worse our posture becomes.
How should your standing posture be?
When standing, keep your feet flat. They should be shoulder-width apart and pointing forward.
As mentioned before, you should still think about sitting up straight even when you’re standing.
Your shoulders should be relaxed and back; don’t pull them up to your ears or stick them out to the side. Also, try not to thrust your chest too far forward.
To improve posture, imagine a line going straight down the center of your body, from between your eyes down to your toes.
How to maintain proper posture throughout the day
Try these things to improve posture all day:
-don’t slouch or lean over when you sit
-whenever possible, be mindful of sitting up straight. Try to do this even if you can’t think about anything else.
-use a chair that gives good support
-don’t cross your legs or ankles; instead, try sitting on one foot with the other tucked underneath your bum for instance
-if you’re seated at your desk, try to keep your back against the chair and straighten up as much as possible (don’t hunch over)
-try to stand up for a few minutes every hour or two; these breaks will give your muscles time to relax and rest.
Remember to keep your stomach muscles tight
If you sit all day at work, chances are you’re not engaging your core muscles. So they’re probably weaker than they would be if you work on your feet.
Periodic exercises throughout the day will help strengthen those core muscles.
-when you’re standing, try pulling your belly button in towards your spine and hold it for a few seconds before letting go. Repeat this a few times.
-when you’re lying down, pull your belly button in as if trying to touch it to your back. Hold for a few seconds and then release. Repeat this a few times.
-when you’re standing, put your hands on your stomach and then slowly push them out as hard as you can for several seconds before relaxing again. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Don’t neglect your back muscles at the gym
When you’re in the gym and want to work your back, it’s easy to neglect those muscles that help you maintain correct posture.
If you neglect your back, it will be very difficult to maintain a good standing posture. After all, the strength of the back muscles determines the shape of your upper body; it’s like the foundation of a house.
Not only that, but if you neglect your back muscles, they’ll become very weak and won’t be able to support your posture anyway.
Slouching posture is the enemy!
Slouching posture is when you bend the upper body forward and your head juts out in front. This can lead to muscle strain, poor circulation and even digestive problems.
The most dangerous consequence is that slouching puts a lot of pressure on the spine and can cause damage to disks and vertebrae. If you stretch or move the wrong way, you could easily pop out a disk or injure your spine.
Slouching is especially dangerous because we end up doing it for so long on a daily basis, especially if we work at an office job.
Good sitting posture is important
When you sit down for a long time, be mindful of your posture.
Just try to sit up as straight as possible, even if it’s difficult to think about at first.
As with standing up straight, it helps to imagine a line going down the center of your body.
Try to keep your back against the chair and sit on one foot with the other tucked underneath you if possible. Or, you could try replacing your office chair with a stability ball.
Do chest stretches if you work in an office
When you sit all day, your chest muscles can easily get stiff and tense. If this is the case, it’s difficult to maintain good posture throughout the day.
Your shoulder blades will be sunken and it’ll feel like they’re headed towards your ears.
Doing simple stretches for your chest once or twice a day while at work should help improve and maintain your posture.
Try not to keep your head forward
When you keep your head forward (a condition called, “forward head”), it puts a lot of strain on the spine and can even cause neck pain.
It puts pressure on the vertebrae in the neck and causes them to compress which makes a gap between them. Not only that, but the weight of the head causes it to move even further forward, causing a snowball effect.
To combat this, try pulling your head back and tucking your chin.
Keep your shoulders relaxed
When you’re always tensing your muscles, it can cause shoulder pain issues.
Make sure to relax your shoulders throughout the day and stretch them out if they feel stiff.
Also, try to maintain body awareness: be aware of how you carry yourself at all times.
If your back is hurting, chances are that’s because of your shoulders being too tense.
Think about seeing a physical therapist
If your back pain is especially severe, you might need to see a professional.
They’ll be able to give you more detailed advice and recommend relaxation techniques or exercises that specifically target your back muscles.
Make a conscious effort to stand properly
It’s easy to get up and just go on with our day without thinking about our posture.
But, you always want to keep in mind that your posture is important and it definitely will affect your everyday life.
If you can’t sit or stand properly for a long time, make an effort to change it. This brings us to our next point…
Improving posture takes work
You can’t expect to simply read a few tips and then have perfect posture for the rest of your life with no work.
It’s going to take time and dedication to build up your back muscles so that you’ll be able to hold yourself in proper form for longer periods.
Having great posture isn’t necessarily something that money can fix quickly, although there are a few options like posture shirts or back braces.
But regardless of what you choose, you’re still going to have to keep those back muscles tight!
Get an office chair with lumbar support
If you have a desk job, get an office chair with lumbar support.
This helps because it supports the lower back muscles and prevents them from getting too stiff or tense throughout the day.
Make sure to sit up straight so that your spine is touching against the lumbar area of the chair. Also, don’t slouch your shoulders; you should still keep them up at all times.
Doing this will help with your posture regardless of what you’re doing for the rest of the day.
Avoid sitting as much as possible
If you sit down at work, try to get up and walk around every hour or so.
Some people say, “sitting is the new smoking.” While this may be a little extreme, I don’t think anyone will say that sitting is good for you.
Try to sit as little as possible. And if you do have to sit, make sure you sit with good posture.
Having good posture is something that most people don’t think about until they get older and it starts to affect their everyday life.
But you always want to keep in mind the importance of keeping your back muscles strong and keeping yourself in proper form throughout the day.
If you neglect this, then your back will be sore and stiff which can lead to other issues.
But, if you can practice what you’ve just learned and implement it into your daily life, then you should see an improvement in no time! And remember: there’s no shame in getting professional medical advice if things get really bad.