How to Improve Your Body Posture | Levi Chiropractic

How to Improve Your Body Posture

Our spine is quite literally the backbone of our health. The 33 vertebrae that run up and down your body are where almost every movement originates. Our spine also has the ability to align-adapt based on our postural habits. If we protect and strengthen our spine through proper posture, we will reap the rewards in everything we do.

Why is Good Body Posture Important?

We all know we look younger, healthier, taller and more confident when we have good posture, but there are lots of other benefits to keep in mind as well. With better posture we can improve:

  • Balance
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Muscle efficiency
  • Breathing
  • Digestion
  • Stress on bones, joints and ligaments

See? Your mom was spot-on when she told you to “sit up straight” 1,000 times!

What Does Good Posture Look Like?

In daily activities, here are the guidelines:

  • Sitting

    Sit up with your back straight and shoulders back. Be sure your feet are flat on the floor with your knees at a 90 degree angle. Scooch your chair in to aid in keeping you upright.

  • Standing

    Stand up straight and draw your shoulders back. Pull your stomach in and have most of your weight on the balls of your feet which should be about shoulder-width apart.

  • Driving

    Sit up straight with your shoulders back (are you noticing a theme?) The seat back should be as close to your tailbone as possible, but don’t sit too close to the steering wheel. Lean back just a little, and set the top of the headrest between the top of your ears and the top of your head.

  • Sleeping

    Sleep posture??? Yup! Believe it or not this is the most difficult and complicated position. Most patients say they toss and turn and can’t really control and maintain a position. As a rule of thumb, we want to protect the natural curves of our spine while sleeping.

    To find out the best sleeping position unique to you, it’s a good idea to have a chiropractor look at your spine and discuss your mattress and pillow.

6 Methods to Improve Your Body Posture

Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand you can wave to fix your posture. It takes changing habits and daily attention. Here are our six top tips for better posture:

1. Become more aware

This is half the battle! If we start to pay attention and become mindful of when we are slouching, we can make little adjustments throughout the day that really add up over time.

2. Take frequent breaks

Try to not stay in the same position for hours. You can set a timer or calendar reminder for a quick standing or walking break every 20-25 minutes. Use your lunch break for an extended walk – and bonus, it will give you added energy to make it through the afternoon.

3. Strengthen

Exercise is definitely a key ingredient in the posture recipe. But you don’t have to run off and join a yoga studio. Simple exercises that focus on your core can be done at home for just a few minutes a day.

4. Remove external problems

High heels, flip flops, a heavy crossbody bag, holding your phone with your neck, only using one strap of your backpack – all these things can affect your balance and how you hold your body.

5. Pay attention to ergonomics

When working with a computer, keep your chair at the proper height, in line with your desk. Eyes should be at the same level as your computer monitor so as to not stress your neck. Use books or reams of paper to get to the proper height, if necessary. Invest in a lumbar support pillow, stand up desk and/or an adjustable height chair if needed.

6. Stretch

Practice posture-improving stretches regularly. When you stretch, you make those hunched muscles do their job again and help relieve tension from your back.

Simple Seated Stretches to Improve Your Posture

Speaking of stretching, here are five quick and easy stretches to try – all while seated! Just sit up straight in your chair and begin…

  • Shoulder Rolls

    Lift your shoulders up towards your ears. Now roll your shoulders back while pulling your shoulder blades together. Do this five times backward then five times forward.

  • Chest Opener

    Reach your arms out to the side, then up over your head. Clasp your hands and slowly stretch your arms up and back slightly behind your ears. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds.

  • Elbow Grasp

    Sit on the edge of your chair. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and slightly down to bring your arms behind your back. Grab your right elbow with your left hand, and your left elbow with your right. If this is too difficult, you can just grab forearms in the beginning until you increase flexibility. Repeat by switching hands and elbows five times each.

  • Spinal Twists

    Lift your spine straight up and rotate your body in one direction using your chair arm to help you get a deeper stretch. Hold the pose for two seconds. Repeat five times on each side.

  • Neck Turns

    Turn your head all the way to the left, then all the way to the right. Move very slowly so you can feel the muscles of the neck and upper back working to move your head. Repeat five times on each side.

Correcting your posture may seem awkward at first since your body has become so used to certain ways of moving, sitting and standing. But with time and practice, it should start to feel more natural.

Help With Posture in Maryland

If a lifetime of poor posture still has you especially hunched, it might be time to see Dr. Levi. Through a combination of adjustments, working with soft tissue and stretching and rehabilitation techniques, we will get you on your way to proper posture and all the benefits it provides.