Do you remember your mother always nagging you to sit up straight? Well, it turns out that she was on to something.
Poor posture can lead to many problems including mild to severe neck and back pain and even damage to your spinal structures.
In order to avoid these issues, here are 6 ways to improve your posture:
Listen to Your Body
Pay attention to when and where you get your neck and back pain. If you notice you have pain while at your desk job and it feels relieved after you get off work, you’re probably slouching at your desk without even noticing it. If your pain goes away after changing positions, chances are, the position you were just in is not good for your back. Once you can identify what you’re doing when you get this back and neck pain, you’ll be able to change your habits to eradicate the poor posture that’s leading to that pain.
Train Your Waist!
Yes, I said train your waist. But how can training your waist help improve your posture? When you wear a waist trainer, not only is your core kept in line, so is your spine! Livestrong confirms that wearing a waist trainer helps support good posture and can help prevent back problems later in life. It also helps you keep your posture in check during your workout which will help you prevent straining or injuring yourself due to improper form.
Change the Way You Sit
While you’re studying and doing work at your desk, it’s a good idea to use ergonomic products to help keep your back aligned and pain free. If you aren’t able to get an ergonomic desk chair, there are other things that you can use to make sure that you can sit more comfortably. Grab a lumbar support roll (like these original ones from McKenzie) which are great not only to bring with you to work, but can also be used in the car or at home. You can also try a footrest to help alleviate pressure on your lower back.
Watch What You Wear
It’s important that you wear supportive shoes when you’ll be on your feet for an extended period of time, and putting orthotic insoles into your shoes is also a good idea. Avoid wearing high heels regularly. The National Center for Biotechnology Information explains that they set your natural alignment off kilter which leads to balance issues. If you must wear high heels more frequently than you should, try a thicker heel or a pair of wedges; they’re more stable than stilettos and other thinner heels.
Make sure that you take breaks when you’re in a position that you’ll be sitting for a long period of time. Get up and walk around or if you have limited space, perform stretches that are good for your back and neck. Spine-Health has a great list of stretches to help ease neck and back pain including lateral flexion (think ear to shoulder), back flexion, and knee-to-chest stretches. It’s also a great idea to perform some exercises to strengthen the muscles in your neck and back that help you maintain good posture.
Don’t Overdo It
While it is crucial to your spinal health that you pay attention to maintaining proper posture, make sure that you’re not keeping your neck and back stiff in your attempts at sitting or standing up straight. The folks over at Spine-Health explain that you still want to be able to maintain an overall relaxed posture (no this does not mean slouching) without keeping your muscles tight and contracted. This way, you’re still able to maintain proper posture without straining the muscles in your neck and back.
Making small changes like those listed above are relatively simple tasks, and a healthy spine resulting from good posture will really benefit you in the long run.
By: Kayla Harwick