With kids back in school and many adults working jobs that require them to be sitting for long periods throughout the day, it is more important than ever to ensure that you are doing what you can to promote a healthy lifestyle. One of the best things you can do is improve your posture.
Here are 5 tips to correct poor posture and keep you and your family healthy and safe:
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1. Teach Your Body What It Feels Like
Here is an easy trick to see what correct standing posture should feel like: Stand with your back against a wall or door with your feet a few inches away, and make sure that the back of your head, shoulders, and buttox are just touching.
This is the alignment that you should be aiming for with your standing posture. Since many are prone to slouching and/or craning their neck forward, this is a quick way to identify any issues and to check in on what correct posture feels like.
2. Stretch Daily
Stretching is a great way to alleviate muscle soreness (including a sore neck or back) and to give the body a break during long periods of sitting. Great stretches for posture include alternating between “cow” and “cat” pose.
To do this – come on to all fours, ensuring that your wrists are in line with your shoulders. Tuck your chin down as you arch your back up into “cat” pose, hold for one breath, then lift your chin up to the ceiling as you flex your back down into “cow” pose.
3. Ensure Proper Sitting Posture
If you’re going to be sitting a lot during the day, then you might as well be doing it correctly so that you can limit damage and harm to your body. To do this, sit up straight with your head, shoulders, and hips in alignment (no leaning forward or backwards). Keep your shoulders relaxed and pressed backwards (ensuring that you aren’t hunching them forward).
If you are working on a computer, make sure that it is situated on a stand so that you can maintain a neutral neck position (not looking too far down or up), with your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle.
4. Exercise Your Core
Having strong core muscles is crucial because these are the muscles that you engage in order to support good posture. If you don’t already, you should practice engaging your core muscles at least 3 times a week, working up to every day.
As you do these exercises, try to maintain a normal breath since you are prepare them to maintain good posture and to be engaged on a regular basis throughout your daily life.
5. Strengthen Your Shoulders/Upper Back
One of the most common poor posture habits is to slouch or hunch the shoulders forward. Although this may feel temporarily comfortable, it will lead to long term damage and can even cause severe issues with your spine in the long-run.
Having good posture is not only a matter of willpower, but of strong muscles as well.
To build strength in your shoulders and upper back so that they can support good posture, stand with your back against a wall or door just like you did in the exercise to check your posture. Now, raise your arms so that the extend straight out to each side, with your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle upwards, and press your arms, forearms, and back of your hands against the wall. While keeping your head, shoulders, lower back and buttox against the wall, slide your arms up the wall so that your hands touch at the top, then lower them back down.
You may find it difficult to keep your body touching the wall, and you may not be able to extend your arms as high when you first begin these exercises, but with patience and practice you will strengthen your shoulders and improve your posture.