If someone’s ever told you to stand up straight or if you have ever looked in a mirror and noticed that you look a little slouched, you may be suffering from bad posture. Poor posture can make you look heavier, shorter, or tired. Over time, it can also lead to actual health problems. That’s why practicing good posture is a great healthy habit to follow. Here, we’ll take a look at what causes bad posture, health problems that could develop because of it, and what you can do to improve your posture naturally with a few lifestyle changes and help from your AlignLife chiropractor.
What Causes Poor Posture?
More people are suffering from bad posture now than ever before. Sedentary lifestyles are most likely to blame. We often spend more time sitting at a computer, watching TV, driving in our cars, and lounging around on the sofa than using our core, back, and shoulder muscles.
Like every other muscle in your body, lack of use means they start to atrophy and aren’t strong enough to do their jobs. In this case, that job is keeping your body straight and upright.
Some common signs that signal your posture could use a little work include:
- Rounded shoulders
- Bent knees when standing or walking
- Head that either leans forward or backward
Health Issues Caused by Bad Posture
Another sign that you may need to improve your posture is health conditions. Many health conditions stem from other problems in the body – especially if a subluxation is causing nerve interference.
Some of the health issues you could experience from poor posture include:
- Headaches and migraines
- Back and neck pain
- Digestive issues
- Breathing problems
- Lack of balance and endurance
- Inability to walk or move properly
- Body aches and pains
- Muscle fatigue
How to Do a Quick Posture Test
Because it can affect your overall health, correcting and maintaining good spine health should be a top priority. Good posture doesn’t always feel correct, however… especially if you’ve been in the habit of slouching and sitting poorly for years. If you want to test whether you have good or bad posture, here’s a quick and easy method you can do at home. (Note: you might need someone’s help to take a picture or help measure). You can also ask your AlignLife chiropractor to do a spine health check on you at a clinic near you.
- Stand with your head, shoulders, and buttocks against a wall. Your heels should be about 4-6 inches from the wall.
- Slide your hand between the small of your lower back and the wall. You can also have someone measure the space for you. Do this for the space behind your neck as well.
- If the measurement is greater than 2 inches or you have a lot of space surrounding your hand, you likely have too much curve in your spine. If there isn’t enough space, you might not have enough curve in your spine.
RELATED ARTICLE: Curves Matter: Does Your Spine Pass the Test?
Tips to Help You Stand and Sit with Good Posture
GOOD STANDING POSTURE
- Focus on standing straight and tall with your shoulders back.
- Keep your head in line with your body (your ears should line up with the middle of your shoulders).
- Activate your core muscles and pull in your abdomen.
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Keep knees bent and flexible.
- Shift your weight so it is primarily on the balls of your feet.
- Let your hands hang naturally at your sides.
GOOD SITTING POSTURE
- Sit up with your back straight and shoulders back.
- Make sure your buttocks are touching the back of your chair.
- Keep your feet flat on the ground.
- Keep your head in a neutral position with your chin parallel to the ground.
4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Posture
Most of us could benefit from putting some posture-improving techniques into practice. These will not only help you improve your spine health but also help you maintain it. Try out one or more of these today and take another step closer to reaching optimal spine health. The more you make a habit out of these posture-correcting exercises, the quicker you’ll see their effects on your body and health overall.
1) Perform exercises to strengthen your back and core.
One of the best ways to improve your posture is to strengthen your core muscles. This includes your abdominal muscles and low back muscles. Take a look at some of our favorite exercises to build core strength.
RELATED ARTICLE: Best Exercises to Build Core Strength
2) Take breaks to move around if you sit frequently.
Any time you sit in one position can be tiring on your body. Taking frequent stretch breaks or even getting up from your desk for a quick walk or at-desk workout can help improve your posture.
RELATED ARTICLE: Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk
3) Practice yoga or stretch daily.
Stretching and yoga also help relieve muscle tension. This helps keep your muscles from reverting back to old bad habits and sets you up to correct your body posture easier.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Best Stretches For Posture Support and Flexibility
4) Make sure you set your desk up properly.
Sitting poorly at your desk causes the pelvis to rotate backward and triggers lower back pain. It also forces your head forward and your shoulders to curve causing neck pain, headaches, and numbness in the hands. All of this unnecessary stress on your muscles and joints can cause more pain and inflammation. Avoid the all to common workspace slump by following these tips to set up your desk:
- Invest in proper back and arm support.
- Set your chair height to 16-20” from the ground.
- Make sure your desk height is 25-30”.
- Position your monitor so the top of the screen is at eye level.
How Chiropractic Can Help with Good Posture
Another great way to improve your posture long-term is chiropractic care. AlignLife chiropractors are experts at finding and diagnosing exactly what is causing your poor posture and whether or not it is leading to pain and other health issues.
Your chiropractor can also guide you through movements that will strengthen the weak muscles so that they eventually work properly again. You will even receive tips for preventing future posture problems. Once your posture issues are corrected, you may find that you sleep, breathe, walk, and feel better than ever before.
Need more tips on how to improve your posture quickly and naturally?
Contact your local AlignLife chiropractor today for a quick spine health check and personalized plans for helping you reach your health goals.