Why should we practice proper posture? Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit and lie in positions that place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities. Poor posture can lead to excessive strain on our postural muscles and may even cause them to relax when held in certain positions for long periods. Several factors contribute to poor posture: stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles and high-heeled shoes. Also, decreased flexibility, a poor work environment, incorrect working posture, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits can contribute to poor body positioning. Here are some practical tips:
How Do I Sit Properly?
- Keep your feet on the floor or a footrest if they don’t reach the floor.
- Don’t cross your legs. Your ankles should be in front of your knees.
- Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
- Your knees should be at or below the level of your hips.
- Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your low- and mid-back or use a back support.
- Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground.
- Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods.
How Do I Stand Properly?
- Bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet.
- Keep your knees slightly bent.
- Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Let your arms hang naturally down the sides of the body.
- Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled backward.
- Tuck in your stomach.
- Keep your head level – your earlobes should be in line with your shoulders. Do not push your head forward, backward, or to the side.
- Shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or one foot to the other, if you stand for a long time.
What is the Proper Lying Position?
- Find the mattress that is right for you. While a firm mattress is generally recommended, some people find that softer mattresses reduce their back pain. Your comfort is important.
- Sleep with a pillow. Special pillows are available to help with postural problems resulting from a poor sleeping position.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping on your side or back is best.
- If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs. If you sleep on your back, keep a pillow under your knees.
Can I Correct My Poor Posture?
Yes. Remember, however, that long-standing postural problems will typically take longer to address than short-lived ones, as the joints have often adapted to your long-standing poor posture. Awareness of your posture and knowing what posture is correct will help you consciously correct yourself. With practice, the correct posture for standing, sitting, and lying down will gradually replace your old posture and help you move toward a better and healthier body position. Your Bronston chiropractor can assist you with proper posture, including recommending exercises to strengthen your core postural muscles. For more information, please contact us.