Is working on your posture one of those items on your long list of things you know you should be doing, but somehow never get to? We get it. But don’t worry, we have a few tricks up our sleeve to help you improve your posture.
But first, why do we keep hearing over and over that we need to improve our posture at all? Besides making ourselves look younger, taller and more confident, our spine is quite literally the backbone of our health. Those 33 vertebrae that run up and down your body are where almost every movement originates from. 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.
Now, let’s take a look at what proper posture actually looks 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.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic wand you can wave to fix your posture. It takes changing habits and daily attention. Here are our four top tips for better posture:
- 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.
- Stretch. Take frequent breaks throughout the day where you stretch and move your body in different ways. When you stay seated or in the same position for too long, your muscles can become stiff and tense.
- 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.
- Remove external problems. High heels, flip flops, a heavy crossbody bag, only using one strap of your backpack – all these things can affect your balance and how you hold your body.
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 feel more natural before you know it.
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.