Proper posture is essential for optimal health, comfort, and performance. But with the prevalence of mobile devices, desk jobs, and sedentary lifestyles, it’s easy to develop bad body posture that can throw off your alignment for good. This leads to a domino effect, which can cause concerns affecting your overall wellness.
However, a 2019 Orlando Health survey finds that only 47% of Americans show concern about maintaining correct posture. This means that over half of all Americans are not taking the necessary steps to protect their spine health.
By understanding the importance of posture and how to improve it, you can positively impact your health beyond the physical. Here’s everything you need to know about how to be proactive in keeping your body posture, plus 10 doctor-recommended exercises.
- What does a good posture mean?
- What causes poor posture?
- What are posture-related problems?
- Is it possible to correct years of bad posture?
- 10 Best Ways To Improve Your Body Posture
- Frequently Asked Questions
What does a good posture mean?
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, good posture means your head, neck, and spine are correctly aligned. This helps ensure muscular and skeletal balance, which means that the weight of your body is evenly distributed across all joints, muscles, ligaments, and other tissues.
What causes poor posture?
Several factors can cause poor posture, each playing a role in the lack of spinal alignment. Common culprits include the following:
Many jobs demand working on low postures, which can lead to fatigue in the back and shoulders. This results in rounded shoulders, causing tension headaches and neck pain.
Sitting for extended periods restricts blood flow and tightens muscles. This can restrain your range of motion, and if not managed properly, it can lead to chronic discomfort. It can also cause your spinal curves to become abnormally exaggerated.
Carrying too much weight puts extra strain on your spine and joints. When this happens, the spine gets forced out of alignment. This results in bad posture and restricted movement.
What are posture-related problems?
A bad posture can look aesthetically displeasing, but that’s the tip of the iceberg. According to a Harvard report, it can cause serious issues affecting your physical and mental health in several ways.
Physically, bad posture can lead to joint pain, bone and muscle deterioration, and spine issues such as scoliosis. It can also cause fatigue and headaches. Mentally, poor posture can cause stress and tension that affects your mood and productivity levels. This can create a feeling of helplessness and can even lead to depression.
Is it possible to correct years of bad posture?
Fortunately, yes. While it may seem to be an overwhelming task, improving your body posture is possible with a combination of exercises, lifestyle changes, and proper ergonomics.
10 Best Ways To Improve Your Body Posture
1 Body-relaxing activities
To maintain good posture, body-relaxing activities such as Yoga, meditation, and gentle stretching can help you create a better alignment. This helps loosen tight muscles, allowing your body to stay in its natural position.
2 Desk ergonomics
Desk ergonomics is an integral part of keeping your body posture. It’s essential to ensure that the furniture you use is adequately adjusted for your height, allowing you to sit with feet flat and leg muscles relaxed, with knees bent at a right angle. Being mindful of proper sitting posture counts as an exercise, as it helps you avoid slouching.
3 Sleep posture
You can improve your posture with the way you sleep. Keeping your back straight and your stomach muscles tight while lying on your side or back can help you maintain a good posture. This is a passive exercise that helps your body retain its normal curvature.
4 Standing posture
A good standing posture is essential for good spine health. To maintain a correct posture, keep your feet hip-width apart, and your weight balanced evenly. Stand tall with your shoulders rolled back and down, your chin parallel to the floor, and your stomach tucked in.
5 Core strengthening exercises
If you constantly find your shoulders leaning forward, your core muscles need strengthening. A strong core helps your body stay upright and maintain proper alignment. Core-strengthening exercises like planks, bridges, and squats can help you achieve this.
6 Upper-body stretching exercises
Upper-body stretches like arm circles, shoulder rolls, and shoulder shrugs can help you loosen tight muscles and improve your posture. It’s beneficial to do these stretches regularly, such as throughout the day or during your lunch break.
7 Posture-awareness exercises
One of the best ways to improve your posture is by being aware of it through posture-awareness exercises. You can start by checking in with your own posture and adjusting as needed every hour or so to ensure you’re staying aligned throughout the day.
8 Posture braces
Posture braces are an excellent tool for supporting and reminding you to keep your back straight. You can wear these whenever you’re sitting or standing to help your body maintain its natural curves. This exercises your muscles and enables you to develop better posture over time.
9 Proper footwear
Proper footwear is essential for keeping your spine in the correct position. Shoes with good arch support and cushioning can help you to maintain an appropriate posture. Which passively exercises your body and helps with posture alignment.
10 Expert-recommended therapy
A visit to a reputable physical therapist can help with posture-related issues. They are experts in spine health and can provide personalized exercises to help you improve your posture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a chiropractor fix bad body posture?
A chiropractor can help with muscle spasms and tightness caused by a bad posture and improve your range of motion. They work by manipulating the spine and joints, releasing muscle tension. The cracking sound heard during a chiropractic adjustment is air from the joint space being released, which helps restore normal movement.
What exercises improve your body posture?
Exercises for posture improvement vary depending on the individual’s posture and needs. The above list includes 10 exercises and activities suitable for improving body posture. However, for a more in-depth routine, you can try the following:
- Penguin stretch
- Shoulder blade squeeze
- Standing wall shoulder stretch
- Cat-Cow stretch
- Child’s pose
- Reverse plank
- Pec stretch
- Half-kneeling hip flexor stretch
- Roll downs
- Scapular wall slides
What foods help aid body posture?
Among the countless tips to stay healthy, the most important is proper nutrition. The vitamins and minerals in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats are vital for maintaining correct posture. You can also add essential nutrients such as omega-3s, magnesium, and calcium to your diet. This will ensure maximum benefits that will help with your spine health.
Experts also advise avoiding processed and sugary foods, which can weaken the muscles that support your posture. More so, they add unhealthy weight, which can further impair your body alignment. By being mindful of your diet, you can provide your body with the essential nutrients to stay healthy and strong.
By taking the necessary steps to promote good body posture, you can protect your spine against age-related issues, prevent backaches, and even improve your mood. Keep in mind that posture is not an overnight fix — it’s a process that requires commitment and discipline. With the right approach and knowledge, you can improve your posture for a healthier, more comfortable life.