- Good posture is an important practice that can reduce low back pain and headaches — but what is it and how can you improve it?
- Also known as ‘neutral spine’, good posture means the muscles surrounding the spine should be balanced and support the body equally.
- Whether sitting or standing at your desk, here are some easy-to-follow tips to create and maintain good posture.
After a day of work, do you experience shoulder, back, or neck pain?
How is your posture at this very moment?
How you sit, stand, and walk throughout the day may be contributing negatively or positively to your overall health.
Good posture is an important practice, but what is it and how can you improve it?
Speaking to Healthline, Nina Strang, a physical therapist and certified strengthening and conditioning specialist at the University of Michigan explains that, “Good posture is also known as neutral spine. When we have good posture, the muscles surrounding the spine are balanced and supporting the body equally.”
How to Practice Good Posture
According to the Mayo Clinic, practicing good posture while standing can help prevent back pain. To improve your standing posture, keep the following suggestions in mind:
- Start by standing up straight and tall, with your shoulders back, as if you are standing against a wall to have your height measured.
- With your feet about shoulder-width apart, shift your weight mostly onto the balls of your feet, evenly between left and right. Make sure not to lock your knees.
- Keep your head level and in line with your body, as if there were a string lifting it up from the top of your head.
- Take a deep, low breath, and then pull in your abdomen and let your hands hang at your sides.
There are also easy things that you can do to improve your posture while sitting. The Cleveland Clinic recommends using these steps to ensure that your time in a seated position isn’t detrimental to your health:
- Sit at the end of your chair and let your back relax into a full slouch.
- Next, sit up accentuating the curve of your back as much as possible with shoulders back, holding for a few seconds before relaxing this position slightly into a good sitting posture.
- Make sure that your body weight is evenly distributed across both of your hips and upper legs.
- Bend your knees at a right angle so that they are even with or slightly higher than your hips. This is where a foot stool may come in handy. Also avoid crossing your legs for prolonged periods.
- Your feet should be flat on the floor or your footstool.
Additionally, if you are looking at a screen or using a keyboard, it’s important that your desk surface is at a good height to help you maintain a beneficial posture, whether you are sitting or standing.
Computer screens should be directly in front of you so that you are able to keep your chin from dropping down or your neck from bending. Your keyboard should be positioned to allow your wrists to stay straight and hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows.
It’s also important to keep moving. If you have to sit or stand for long periods of time, take frequent breaks, at least every 30 minutes, and make sure to shift your weight around in between.
The benefits of good posture range from a reduction in low back pain and fewer headaches to more energy and a boost in confidence. But it takes practice. So, how is your posture now?