Seven Lifestyle Habits and Moves to Fix Bad Posture Are you plagued by poor posture? Straightening your posture may actually help you to straighten out some health problems! That’s because many of us experience a host of adverse physical and mental symptoms after inadvertently putting pressure on our muscles, joints and spine by sitting and standing improperly. That pressure can cause inflammation, pain and long-term health problems that radiate to nearly every part of the body. The good news is that bad posture is something that can be fixed. Take a look at what you need to know if you’re striving for better posture.
Start by Identifying Your Weak Points
How can you tell if you have bad posture? There’s a good chance you’ve seen yourself in a photo or mirror with hunched shoulders or a stooped neck. You may also suspect that your posture is all wrong because you’re experiencing aches, pains or fatigue. There is a simple way to determine if your posture is incorrect. Begin by standing with the back of your head against a wall. Next, place your heels about six feet out from the wall. Be sure to keep your shoulder blades and buttocks in contact with the wall while maintaining this position. It’s then time to measure the space that is left between your neck and the wall. You’ll also measure the space between your back and the wall. What should you be looking for?
It’s important to have at least 2 inches of space between the wall and your neck or back. It’s actually a sign of trouble if the gap measures any larger than that. A larger gap between the wall and your neck or back is an indication that your posture is weak. It could also mean that you’re experiencing some spinal curvature. Let’s talk about how to close the gap for improved posture and better health!
Simple Ways to Begin Improving Your Posture Immediately
There are some exercises and moves that can be done to improve posture. However, daily habits can be just as important when it comes to getting your posture where it should be. Here’s a look at the four big tips to follow for a healthy posture around the clock:
- Get up for small breaks frequently if you spend long hours working at a desk.
- Position your body closer to the steering wheel when commuting or taking long drives to avoid the need to have to stretch your body while steering and reaching for pedals.
- Be mindful of how frequently you look down at your phone! Looking down toward your phone actually causes your shoulders to slump forward in a way that strains the upper body. Frequent phone users should consider hands-free options or headphones to avoid having to physically handle their phones while making phone calls or listening to media.
- Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach or in the fetal position. It’s actually much better for your spine if you transition to sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your side without “curling” your spine is also a much better option than the fetal position.
All of these little changes can add up to some big benefits for your posture and spine. However, you may also want to focus on some targeted actions that can help to undo some of the damage prolonged poor posture has done to your body. Next, take a look at some specific movements and exercises that may help you to develop a better, stronger posture.
Some Easy Moves to Improve Posture
Getting up to move in nearly any way, shape or form is simply going to be better for you than remaining sedentary in almost any circumstance. That’s because remaining in a single position for too long can cause strain, tension, fatigue and pain in your muscles and spine. A stagnant position can be even more detrimental if you’re in the habit of slouching or stooping. Let’s take a look at three simple moves to help you “shake things up” for improved circulation, increased energy and better posture!
The Child’s Pose
This is a tried-and-true favorite for improving posture in a pinch! You can begin on your hands and knees. Try to keep your knees as close to shoulder-width apart as you can when getting into position. You’ll also want to make sure your big toes are in contact.
Next, crawl forward on your hands. You’ll need to extend your arm out toward the mat as you do this. It’s also okay to drape your arm by your body if that’s more doable. You can now slowly begin to drop your hips back to allow them to rest on your heels. This is the point where you’ll rest your forehead down on the floor in front of you. Pause to take up to 10 deep breaths before continuing with your reps.
Hip hinges are especially beneficial for strengthening the back and helping with lower-back alignment. Start in the standing position with your back roughly six inches from a wall. Your feet should be roughly hip-width apart as you’re standing. Next, push your hips behind you as you lower your chest toward the floor. Keep doing this with a slight bend in your knees until your hips are touching the wall. Hold your position before thrusting your hips forward back into the starting position. You can then continue on to complete up to 10 reps.
The plank is great for improving posture because it allows you to focus on building strong core muscles that will “hold you up.” In fact, a weak core is often the cause of why so many people slouch. In addition to improving posture, the plank can actually help to relieve some of the pain and stiffness you might feel after standing or sitting using improper posture for long periods of time. Another big benefit of the plank is that it’s so simple to do! Start down on all fours with your hands positioned directly below your shoulders. Meanwhile, your knees should be below your hips. You can now lower your body onto your elbows when focusing on straightening your legs behind you. Your feet should be roughly hip-width apart during the process. It’s also important to keep your back as straight as possible! Go ahead and hold for 20 seconds once you complete your first plank. Many people like to hold the pose for longer once they get the hang of it!
Taking Posture Seriously
Good posture really does mean good health. The truth is that the stress that we put our bodies when we stand or sit improperly can make us feel sick, slow us down and do long-term damage. That’s why it’s so important to practice good posture in all that we do. Of course, it’s important to know when you simply can’t correct posture on your own. Many people seek out spinal adjustments when suffering from symptoms of bad posture. In addition to alleviating pain and discomfort, an adjustment may help to allow your body to get into and maintain proper posture more easily.