Millions of people deal with poor posture on a regular basis, yet few know how to solve the problem. If you don’t deal with your posture problem soon, it could have permanent adverse effects on your health.
Do You Have Poor Posture?
Poor posture is something that affects each of us at different times in our lives. And for some, it’s a chronic issue with chronic side effects. Slouching is one of the most common and problematic issues, as it puts significant pressure on discs, the lower back region, and the neck. In addition to the throbbing and stabbing of chronic pain, poor posture can eventually lead to issues like arthritis and herniated discs.
Good posture is characterized by a neutral spine. When looking at your spine directly from the back of your body, all 33 vertebrae of the spinal column should be vertical and symmetrical. Ideally, you should have three soft curves: one in the lumbar region (bent inward), one in the thoracic region (bent outward), and one in the cervical region (bent inward).
Poor posture is often characterized by symptoms like back pain, stiff neck, muscle fatigue, rounded shoulders, potbelly, bent knees when walking/standing, headache, and a head that leans forward or backward.
4 Tips for Improving Posture
The good news is that you have a high degree of control over your posture and can overcome any unwanted symptoms you’re experiencing. Here are some helpful tips:
Optimize Your Workspace
If you sit at a desk for four, six, or eight hours per day, you face a steep uphill battle against developing and maintaining good posture. There are, however, some things you can do to improve your situation. This starts with optimizing your workspace ergonomics. Try the following:
- Select a chair that supports your spine’s natural curvature and adjust its height so that your feet are able to rest flat on the floor. Armrests should be adjusted so that your arms gently rest with shoulders relaxed.
- Your computer monitor should be roughly an arm’s length away from your body, with the top of the screen at eye level.
- Ideally, your keyboard and mouse should be on the same surface. When typing or using your mouse, wrists need to be straight and flat, gently resting on the desk surface.
If possible, invest in a standing desk that allows you to go from sitting to standing throughout the day. This improves posture and enhances blood flow.
Learn to Stand Properly
Most people are unaware of how badly they slouch when standing. The first step is to become cognizant of when you’re slouching. The second step is to straighten up (using the right techniques).
“Pretend you’re standing against a wall to measure your height,” WebMD suggests. “Hold your head straight and tuck in your chin. Your ears should be over the middle of your shoulders. Stand with your shoulders back, knees straight, and belly tucked in. Don’t let your booty or hips stick out. Straighten up so you feel like your head stretches toward the sky.”
If you’re used to slouching, this sort of rigid posture will initially feel forced and uncomfortable. With enough practice it’ll become second nature.
Choose the Right Mattress
You spend nearly one-third of your life sleeping. If you want to achieve the proper posture, you need to find a mattress that’s kind to your spine.
Feel free to shop around and try out mattresses with different materials and varying levels of firmness, but you’ll likely discover that an adjustable mattress – like a Sleep Number or Tempur-Pedic makes the most sense. This allows you to perfectly optimize your sleep experience for less pain and discomfort (and better posture).
Consider a Tummy Tuck
While tummy tucks are commonly performed for aesthetic reasons, these procedures do more than trim up the waistline. By strengthening abdominal muscles, a proper tummy tuck makes it easier to stand straight and obtain proper spinal alignment (with less back and neck discomfort). The key is to work with a board-certified surgeon, who can provide you with a medical opinion on whether or not this will be a helpful option for you.
Live Your Best Life
Don’t let poor posture negatively impact your health, confidence, and overall well-being. By addressing your poor posture today, you can overcome discomfort, reduce pain, and feel better about yourself. What are you waiting for?