Mothers for decades have been telling their children to sit up straight. While it seems like nothing more than pestering, there is much value to this sentiment. Even though it was not something you wanted to hear, she was indeed right about it. Sitting up with proper posture is not only something that shows good manners but also can save your back from a world of potential back pain. As much as you don’t want to admit that this nagging statement holds true, alas, it is.
What Does Having Good Posture Mean?
Essentially posture is how your body holds up your back, neck, and head while standing, sitting, or laying down. Having good posture means distributing the strain on your joints, muscle, and ligaments as to no incur strain on those areas. The spine, back, knees, and more bear a lot of weight on them as it is just to keep you mobile. By changing your posture to improve that strain, you could potentially save your body from arthritis, back pain, and wear on your ligaments on the whole.
Finding ways to improve poor posture can have an overall positive effect on your body’s health and hopefully can alleviate any pain you may be currently experiencing whether it is related to posture or not.
Sitting Up Properly
Sit up straight, words every child has heard at least once echo through their minds. The natural inclination is to relax your body and back when sitting, and rightfully so, sitting is usually something done to take a break from standing or doing something in a more comfortable setting for long periods of time such as working.
While it may feel like the natural thing to do, the prolonged strain it can have on your back, neck, and shoulders can cause you to have impending pain either that same day or later down the road in a continuous fashion.
- Sit with your bottom touching the back of the chair. This will ensure that your spine is upright and your shoulders and back should be straight.
- Keep your legs planted on the ground, uncrossed. They should be bent at a 90-degree angle, slightly above the hips. If you have a footstool, that could definitely be an added benefit.
- Do not sit for too long of periods in the same exact position. Try to readjust or get up to move after 30 minutes if possible.
- A good ergonomic chair can do wonders if you are in a desk or working environment. They tend to offer support on your spine and require less effort on your end to ensure you are seated the proper way.
Wear the Proper Footwear
For women, beauty is pain and this saying could not be more relevant when it comes to choices in footwear. As gorgeous as they make you feel, pumps and stilettos thrust the base of your spine forward, which over-arches your back. That can change the way your backbone lines up and put pressure on nerves, which causes back pain. If you are able to avoid wearing them save for the special occasion or the weekends for a lesser amount of time, the better for your back overall.
For both men and women, finding supportive footwear even with athletic and flat shoes can do a world of good as well. A proper shoe that provides arch support can ease the joints and provide stability in the way you mobilize yourself.
Adjust Your Sleeping Habits
Not advice just for sitting and standing, how you sleep can play a very large role in the manner in which your posture can be improved. Sleeping in specific positions such as your back or side can be awful for your spine. Waking up with tightened or twisted feeling muscles is likely a result of improper sleeping posture.
So what can you do? A good night’s rest is so necessary for maintaining your overall health. This is the time when your body is recovering, recouping, and recharging itself. But if that night’s sleep results in pain due to poor sleeping posture the next day, it’s worth it to ensure that you will always have a proper night’s rest.
- A good mattress is critical in ensuring your back is properly supported during that long stretch of rest. A firm mattress will fare much better than a soft, sagging one.
- If you sleep on your side, bend your knees a little but not bring them to your chest like in the fetal position.
- A good pillow that is supporting your neck will fare well no matter if you sleep on your side or back. Ensure that it is not too large where your head is elevated above your spine, which will add more strain.
Another thing that mom likely told you not to do was slouch. Whether standing, sitting in a chair, car, or otherwise, slumping down and letting your back curve is not going to do you any favors in the long run. While it does seem like your natural inclination to relax the body and not be so upright or stiff, it is in fact not ideal for the spine.
A good trick to ensure that you are supported, roll a towel, and put it behind your shoulders, as you work to keep the towel from falling, you are also sitting up straight. Whether standing up or sitting, work at pushing your shoulders back and elongating that spine upright as much as possible.
Stretching is so critical in ensuring your muscles stay loose and relaxed especially when you are about to embark on any sort of physical fitness where they will be used in a more excessive manner beyond the normal daily activities. As such, when you actively stretch, the less strain there will be on the joints and muscles overall.
If doing any form of heavy lifting, be sure that you keep the proper form so as to not incur any strain on those back muscles. Keeping your back straight and bending the knees at the hips is what is recommended when lifting anything heavy, workout, or not. Ensure that you have a wide-legged stance and have both feet planted firmly on the ground. Core strength is also key to keeping your posture in excellent form.
Maintaining a healthy weight goes hand in hand with having that strong core, as it is the center of your body, being able to lift and stand properly is what its job is. If there is some excess weight to let go of especially around your midsection, it will greatly help to improve not only your posture with the loss of the extra pounds but your overall health in general. If the core muscles in your back and abdomen have grown weak from inactivity, that can also cause you to lean forward. Those muscles are crucial to lifting your frame and keeping you upright.
If you happen to know that your back could use a little extra boost of confidence when it comes to any physical activities or just living life, a good back support brace will alleviate a lot of that tension felt. Why do so many weightlifters wear back belts? They understand the significant and important role the back plays in allowing us to walk and talk normally if we treat it well. Give the support to your back when you need it the most.
Beyond these five suggestions, there are many other methods that you can do to improve your posture. All stemming from similar backgrounds at the items mentioned above, many are a more detailed approach depending upon the severity of your back or if you are in any pain. If you happen to notice that your posture is being affected by your ability to be as fluid in your movements than previously before, a combination of any of the mentioned above items will work to your advantage when implemented with a good pain relief ointment.
Offering up temporary but rapid relief to your problem area which can be the one thing that saves your day from a period of extreme pain. As always incorporating stretching or yoga to start off the day will only strengthen that core set of muscles to the back, it will create the best possible foundation that is holding up the rest of your body.
Maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your body moving, and stretching are really the 3 most important treatments you can do for yourself in order for your body to treat you well. Posture is the most critical part of your overall health. Taking control of it and ensuring that you sit, eat, and even just walking you remain cognizant of how you are handling the movements.
Allowing the rest of your body to bear the burden of the weight distribution properly will likely please your mother but also the rest of your body as good posture’s job is to avoid pain by proper body balance. Poor posture can be fixed if you are willing to take control of your health and implement these methods listed above!