Solve Your Posture Problems
Most people would not believe the tremendous amount of pressure sitting in a chair or standing for extended periods of time can put on their lower back. It is estimated that standing up puts five times the pressure on your spine and lower back compared to lying down, and sitting down in a chair exerts even more pressure.
Over time, poor sitting and standing posture can cause chronic back and neck pain that can require expensive treatment or therapy to put your spine right again. Conversely, proper posture improves how you look and feel, and projects an air of confidence and poise.
Poor posture is caused by several factors including prior injuries, poor muscle tone, stress, and even disease, but the good news is there are ways to improve your posture despite these factors. Good posture matters, and not just for your health either, but from a social and emotional perspective as well. What can you do to improve your posture and prevent these long term posture problems? Here’s a few helpful tips.
Check Your Stance In The Mirror
When you look in the mirror, turn to see your profile and check your posture for the following signs: slumped or rounded shoulders, abdominal protrusion (sticking your bell out), or swayback (and excessive forward curvature of the lower back). Now adjust your posture to maintain the natural, gentle curves of your back: a gentle curve outward at the shoulders, and subtle curve inward at your lower back. Your goal with this posture is to avoid exaggerating these curves into a hard S-shape. Additionally, you should avoid the traditional military posture of sticking your chest forward with your shoulders back and buttocks pushed back, as this posture actually creates a swayback posture.
Keep Your Chin Level
Hold your head directly over your shoulders and keep your chin parallel to the floor when you stand. This causes your shoulders to level out on their own and eliminates slumping. Keeping your chin in this position also causes the front of your chest, waist, and hips to align themselves properly on their own.
Fixing Your Sitting Posture
Slouching in your chair not only sends the wrong message about who you are as a person, but it also exerts 10-15 times the normal seated pressure on your lower back. To avoid this posture pitfall, choose a chair the provides excellent lower back support and sit back firmly in the chair. Let it do the work of supporting your upper body while in the seated position.
If your chair at work or school doesn’t have adequate lower back support, try using a lumbar pillow or a rolled-up towel. Additionally, always sit close enough to your desk or table to eliminate the tendence to lean forward to work or see what you are doing. That forward lean is the chief source of most work-related neck and back pain.
Workouts That Solve Your Posture Problems
Develop a workout routine that works your abdominal and lower back muscles, as well as your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Stretching and exercising these muscles regularly will help prevent poor posture due to weak muscle tone or insufficient flexibility. Yoga and isometric body-weight exercises are best for improving muscle tone and posture, and both are low impact and unlikely to cause discomfort or injury.
Take action today to solve your posture problems, and save yourself a future of chronic neck, shoulder, and back pain later.