by, Hannah Stevens
(photo courtesy of pexels.com)
Many of us can still hear our grandmother, second-grade teacher, or athletic coach telling us to “straighten up!” the second that we begin to slouch. Still, as adults, we often no longer heed that advice (sound though it may be) and find ourselves falling into the habit of bad posture. Not only is this something that affects the way we look and feel, but it is also something that, if left uncorrected for too long, can lead to serious health issues down the road. So we thought we would take a look at what exactly good posture actually is and how we can do a better job of maintaining it.
Why is Posture So Important?
There are a number of reasons that it is not only unsightly but also downright unhealthy to not stand up straight. Bad posture can cause several uncomfortable or even serious issues now and later on; bones and joints can become misaligned, it increases stress on the ligaments of the spine, it can lead to chronic neck and back pain, it may reduce lung capacity, and it can even hinder digestion and intestinal processes.
How Can I Correct My Posture?
While it may be true that correcting poor posture isn’t as simple as developing it in the first place, the same can be said of breaking almost any bad habit. The fact is that you didn’t always have bad posture; it’s something that developed over the course of time due to laziness, lack of attention, depression, or even an accident or injury.
But feeling bad about it or being ashamed is certainly not going to help matters. The first step to developing better posture is to develop a good attitude about it. Also, consider the type of mattress you sleep on and what position you wake up in. If you are spending eight hours a night in an awkward sleeping position, chances are that you may be playing a big role in your overall posture.
Techniques and Methods for Improving Posture
An important thing to remember is that the older you get, the harder it will be to break your bad habits and learn new ones. Another reason correcting your posture in your later years might be difficult is because you may have already developed some of those more serious issues, such as a misaligned spine or severe back or joint pain.
So the earlier you get started, the easier it will be and the more success you will have. Here are a few ways you can start fixing your posture today:
1. Sitting Posture
Make sure your back is firmly positioned against the back of the chair. Your torso and legs should be in the shape of an “L”. Your knees should be even with your hips, and if not, only slightly higher. Your feet should remain flat on the floor.
2. Standing Posture
Here you want to keep the majority of your body weight on the balls of your feet, not the heels. Your feet should be about shoulder length apart, and your knees should be relaxed. Be sure your head is in-line with the spine, and not hanging down or pushing forward. Your arms should be relaxed and loose down by your sides. Stand up tall and straight (just like grandma said), and don’t let your shoulders, neck, or head slouch.
Make It a Habit
You also need to be aware that this isn’t a problem that is going to correct itself in a day or two. Some people have spent years practicing bad posture habits, and if that is the case, it is going to take a little while to recondition your body and reprogram its muscle memory to keep it from naturally reverting to those positions.
It will take a continual mental effort to quickly realize every time that you are slouching and to immediately correct it. It may take some time before you really start to feel and notice the difference, but when you do, it will all be worth it.