Stand Up Straight!

By on Apr 4, 2016

You may have been told as a child to "stand up straight," yet hardly anyone discusses the health benefits of better posture. Not only does better posture make you feel better [i], but it can also prevent a host of debilitating health problems in your later years, such as back pain, headaches, and muscle loss. How can you make sure that you have good posture throughout your entire day?

  • Slouching can stress or pull on your muscles so while you are sitting are your desk at work, try to keep your back from curving forward toward your desk.
  • Muscles and ligaments struggle to keep you balanced when slouching, leading to back pain, headaches and long term problems. Keep your shoulders low and loose to prevent slouching.
  • Many of us spend our working hours sitting at a desk. Choose a chair that supports your lower back and allows you to keep both feet on the floor with your shoulders relaxed and your head looking forward. This will put you on the right track towards better posture.
  • Stretching and core strengthening exercises can make better posture simpler. Try doing yoga or Pilates to build the muscles in your abdomen and pelvic area, the muscles that will keep your spine straight with less conscious effort.
  • Avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes. Get up, stretch, and walk around for a few minutes before sitting back down again. This tip will help keep you from falling into an extended posture slump.
  • Your posture while sleeping is also imperative in making sure you aren't injuring your body. Use a firm mattress to prevent unnatural spinal curves and small pillows to prop your back if you feel any discomfort.
  • Another tip? Sleep on your side or on your back with a pillow under your knees. Don't sleep on your stomach as this can lead to extra weight put on the cervical neck spine.
  • People who are older should be especially aware of their bone health, as strong bones help maintain good posture. Ask your doctor if you are getting enough Vitamin D and calcium in your diet.   |   |   Cleveland Clinic   |   Mayo Clinic