We often hear that we need good posture to stand, walk, and sit properly. But, what exactly is posture and what does it mean to have correct posture? For starters, posture refers to the body position when you stand, lie down or sit. When the body is properly positioned and supported correctly by the muscles, we use the term correct posture. Essentially, you need correct posture to prevent the likelihood of suffering injuries, among many other issues.
Types of Postures
Essentially, there are two types of body postures:
- Static posture – This refers to your body positioning when you are in a stationary position, for example, when sleeping or standing.
- Dynamic posture – This refers to how your body is held in position when moving, for example, when walking or running.
Causes of Poor Posture
People have poor posture for different reasons. Common causes, however, include:
- Using the wrong chair, mattress, and pillow
- Sitting behind the desk for long
- Lifting heavy objects that your muscles cannot hold
- Obesity and abnormal bodyweight
- Physical stress
- Unhealthy sitting, sleeping, and standing habits
- Weak or rigid postural muscles
Effects of Poor Posture
Poor posture is generally unhealthy as it can lead to any of the following issues:
- Muscle fatigue
- Joint ache
- Back and hip pain
- Loss of body balance
- Difficulty in breathing
- Reduced flexibility
- Digestion difficulties
Tips for Improving Posture
Generally, it takes these 9 tips to achieve the correct posture:
1. Correct Sitting
Finding the correct posture can be hard if your work involves prolonged sitting. But still, there are several things you can do to improve your body positioning. This is more important if you spend hours in office sited. In this case, you should observe the following:
- Sit straight and avoid dropping your shoulders forward
- Keep your feet on the ground to uniformly distribute your body weight
- Bend your knees at about 90 degrees
- Don’t cross your legs when sitting
- Move your chair close to the desk or keyboard
In case you are susceptible to back pain, you should consider investing in an ergonomic chair. Such chairs have all the comfort features you need to enjoy good posture.
2. Proper Standing
You must learn to stand in line to enjoy better posture. This is not only healthier for the joints and bones but also the muscles. Additionally, it helps to boost blood circulation. To ensure that you always observe proper standing position, you should:
- Always stand straight and pull the shoulders back
- Hang your arms naturally on the sides when standing
- Don’t lock the knees but keep them slightly bent
- Stand with your feet slightly apart
3. Proper Lifting
Most people injure their hips and backs as a result of lifting heavy objects. For others, it’s an issue of lifting objects, which are not necessarily heavy, the wrong way. It happens mostly in manual jobs like constructions, plumbing works, and carpentry. To avoid risking hurting your back or hip when working, you should do the following:
- Learn to spread your feet before lifting heavy objects to properly support your body
- Hold heavy objects close to the body as much as possible
- Move near the object you are lifting
- Hold and lift the object slowly
4. Correct Sleeping Habits
Finding the best sleeping position can help a lot in maintaining correct body posture. For a start, you should not sleep on your stomach as it puts too much pressure on the spine. Instead, you should lie on your back or the sides. And while sleeping on your side, you should enhance your comfort by putting a supportive pillow between your legs. Also, your knees need to be supported by a pillow if you choose to lie on your back.
5. Comfortable Mattress and Pillow
The mattress that you lie on and the pillow that you use greatly affect your posture. If you want to have the correct posture, then you have to choose the two carefully. While most people prefer to sleep on firm mattresses, some find softer options more comfortable. So, you should find what works for you. As for the pillows, you need to find options that feel softer and comfortable. Such options exist in the market and so you just need to shop wisely.
6. Comfortable Driving Position
You may not realize it but the more you drive, the more pressure you put on your back. If you are not careful, this could have a damaging effect on your posture. The simplest thing to do before you can take hold of the wheel is to adjust the driver’s seat. Your body should rest comfortably before you can start driving. Additional tips include:
- Move your bottom and the shoulder close to the backrest
- Adjust the seat cushion to a comfortable position
- Bend your knees slightly when driving
- Adjust the headrest to the same height as your head position
- The seat height needs to be correct to avoid stretching the body
7. Stretching Exercises
Stretching exercises are meant to help both the muscles and joints become more flexible. This, in the long run, helps your body fall in the correct position when both in a dynamic and static state. It’s important however that you observe the routines regularly. Common examples of stretching exercises you can do include:
- Back extensions
- Chest stretches
- Hip flexors
In addition to these exercises, you can also stretch your body by swimming and biking more often. These two options are fun to do.
8. Weight Management
Excess weight is not just a risk for heart disease but also a poor posture. Usually, additional body weight puts stress on your muscles and in this, in the long run, interferes with your body positioning. To ensure that your body is not thrown out of position, you have to maintain a healthy body weight. This may mean observing a healthy diet plan or exercising regularly. You can also do both if you can.
9. Supportive Footwear
Lastly, your posture is also determined by the shoes you wear. They have to support your body weight with ease for you to enjoy good posture. So, you should avoid high heels as they are likely to throw your body out of balance and position. Also, when you sit for long and are wearing less supportive shoes, you should improve their comfort by placing a thick rubber rug underneath.
We all need the correct posture to walk, sleep, and sit properly. As seen, it takes healthy lifestyle adjustments to achieve it. So, put the tips into practice and wait to see your posture improve remarkably.