Have bad posture? Try this.
Good posture can be key to reducing injuries, pain and potential surgery in the future. It even can go as far as affecting breathing, digesting and balancing.
You should be aware of two types of posture. Dynamic focuses on when you are moving and static for when you are not, like when you’re sleeping or sitting. Maintaining your body’s three natural spine curves is essential to back pain prevention from your neck to your lower back.
“Back pain is one of the most common reasons patients visit my office,” says Dr. Ijeoma Madueke, a family medicine physician at Advocate Medical Group. “Poor posture is a contributor to back pain. Prolonged poor posture can lead to effects on your joints, muscles and tendons over time.”
Here are three easy tips to start becoming aware and begin practicing good posture:
1) Be mindful
- Take notice of how you sit and stand.
- What types of shoes are you wearing, and do they hurt or make you walk differently?
- Can you feel any extra weight on your body affecting your joints?
- How active are you? Are you more dynamic throughout your day or more static with sitting?
- Do you mold your body position to sit, lay or stand a certain way in your car, sleeping, sitting at work, etc., or do you change the environment around you to fit your body’s height and posture?
2) Sitting tips
- Don’t sit too long. Move at least every hour. Get up and talk with someone, go to the restroom, do a lap around the office, get some water, etc.
- Make sure your shoulders are not tight, up and curved in. Relax and open your chest by doing stretches with your arms behind your back, with hands clasped and stretching downward.
- Do not cross your legs, and have your elbows facing inward towards your body to help keep your shoulders back and your spine straight.
- Evaluate your chair by making sure it supports your neck, back, hips and thighs. Avoid craning your neck towards your computer screen.
3) Standing tips
- Stand up straight and tall, making sure your rib cage is lifted, and keep your shoulders back.
- Pull your stomach in, starting with your navel first, while pushing your hip bones forward and pulling in your glutes; strengthening core muscles helps.
- Put your weight mostly on the balls of your feet.
- Keep your head level and your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Let your arms hang down naturally at your sides.
Have back or neck pain? Take our quick online health risk assessment to see if you should go see your primary care physician.
About the Author
Jennifer Benson, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs for Advocate Aurora Health. She has 10+ years of community development and communication experience for non-profits and has a BA in Architecture from Judson University in Elgin, IL. Outside of work, you can find her planning the next adventure near water or rocks, re-organizing spaces, working on her Master’s in Public Health, caring for her senior citizen cat, keeping to healthy moving and eating disciplines and growing green things wherever she can find room.