Good posture may come naturally to some, but to others, it takes effort to ensure we’re supporting our bodies properly throughout the day, whether sitting, standing, or laying down.
Our growing reliance on technology doesn’t help this — many of us spend our days hunched over a laptop or cellphone, which stresses the spine, leads to tech neck, and can cause back or neck pain, muscle strain, and fatigue.
But the importance of good posture can’t be stressed enough. Good posture keeps us balanced, helps us feel good, and can present painful health conditions. It decreases the risk of injury, reduces the stress on our joints and muscles, reduces back and neck pain, and improves circulation as well as digestion and flexibility.
For most people, good posture takes a bit of effort and work, especially if you’re counteracting years of poor posture. To develop better posture while standing, sitting, or lying down, follow the tips below.
Those who work long days on their feet know the pain and stiffness that often comes along with standing for many hours. Good posture when standing can reduce back strain and decrease the stress on your spine, knees, and feet.
It’s natural for our bodies to slouch a bit, especially when we are fatigued. However, good standing posture should counteract this urge to slouch, instead using a neutral spine stance.
To develop a neutral spine position, imagine there is a line that moves up your body and straight to the ceiling. This line should be straight, with your ears aligned with your shoulder, your shoulders aligned with your hips, and your hips aligned with your ankle.
Try to keep your weight in the balls of your feet, not your heels, and maintain a slight bend in the knee, being sure not to lock them.
Keep your core engaged, clavicle lifted just slightly, and your head level.
When sitting down, whether on the couch at home, at your office desk, or your WFH workstation, posture is usually the last thing on our minds, but this is a mistake that could have long-term impacts on your health.
Regardless of how good it might feel to sink into your favorite chair, you should still use good posture to protect your spine, but that doesn’t mean it should feel rigid.
Put your feet flat on the floor or place them on an ergonomic footrest. Keep your ankles in front of your knees and don’t sit with crossed legs, as tempting as it may be.
Use a lumbar pillow or choose a lumbar-supporting chair for extra support on your lower back, and roll your shoulders back so they’re not rounded forward.
Practice the neutral spine position again while sitting, and stand to stretch when you can to give your muscles a break, especially while traveling.
You might not think that your posture is important when you’re lying down, but good posture can help you sleep better and protect your joints and back.
Soft mattresses might feel fabulous, but sinking down into your bed can round the back. Look for a mattress with support and a moderate level of firmness that still feels comfortable enough to fall asleep on.
Sleeping on your stomach can apply pressure to the lower back, so avoid this if possible and instead opt for a side-sleeping position with a pillow between the knees for a comfortable stance.
If you prefer to lay on your back, avoid a thick pillow that can cause excessive neck strain. This can also happen when watching TV from bed, so opt for a recliner or a couch when you’re watching your favorite show.
Good posture should follow you around throughout the day – while sitting, standing, and lying down. It keeps your body aligned so your muscles can best support your body. If you’re struggling to correct poor posture or would like to develop exercises to improve your posture, chiropractic can help.