We all know that good posture is important, but do you know it’s also vital for good health. Here are our Top 10 tips to help you improve your posture for a better life.
Stress and negativity don’t just make you feel bad, they have a profound effect on your posture. You tend to hunch your shoulders more, sit badly and put a lot of tension on your muscles which subtly changes your posture still further. As a result, you’re more likely to suffer from back pain which encourages a vicious circle of negativity. Therefore, your state of mind is a hugely important element of improving posture for a better life, especially if you’re already suffering from back pain.
We all know we should, but do we follow the advice? At work, make sure you have a fully adjustable chair. Sit with your feet flat on the floor (or use a foot rest), your knees should be lower than your hips, have your elbows by the side of your body so they make an L shape, and your monitor should be at eye-level an arm’s length away. And don’t cradle the phone between your ear and your shoulder as that puts an unnatural strain on your neck muscles and tissue. Hold the handset or get a hands-free device – especially if you make a lot of calls.
Take a few minutes every day to do exercises which are good for your posture.
A sedentary lifestyle spent sitting in front of computers isn’t helpful in improving your life. Get into the habit of standing up, walking around and stretching for a couple of minutes every half hour or so. If you’re working on a laptop at home, try working standing up for some of the time – you don’t have to invest in a fancy desk; just put your computer on a kitchen counter or even a windowsill.
If we do nothing about it, our muscles around our spin will get weaker as we age. Menopausal women tend to have weaker muscles than older men and have the additional problem of osteoporosis thinning their bones causing them to shrink in size. Many older people have curved spines, and the so-called ‘dowager’s hump’ is a classic symptom of osteoporosis. The good news is that muscle weakening and bone thinning can be prevented with weight-bearing exercises such as walking, climbing stairs and weight lifting – many gyms have machines which specifically target the muscles in your back, neck, pelvis, and sides.
The Alexander Technique is a method of re-educating your body to improve your posture and is a very gentle way of retraining your body to work more effectively and efficiently. Studies have shown the Alexander Technique can help with breathing, pain management, balance, stuttering and even Parkinson’s Disease, so it really is a way of improving posture for a better life.
Yoga and Pilates are good ways of strengthening your core muscles – your abdomen and pelvic area – to help you improve both flexibility and posture.
Vitamin D is vital for healthy bones and healthy bones are vital for posture. Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common these days thanks to a more indoor lifestyle and improvements in sunscreen technology. But the Sun is one of the best ways of ensuring your body produces enough to keep you healthy, so make sure you get enough sunshine for good bone health as well as good mental health.
You need a healthy diet for a good life generally, but if you want to look after your posture, you need healthy bones. Make sure you have a calcium-rich diet to help keep your bones healthy. And avoid fizzy drinks as there’s growing evidence that they’re linked to osteoporosis.
Hitchin Osteopathy can help with specific problems caused by bad posture as well as giving advice on how to improve your range of movement and body balance. We’ll give you a posture analysis and corrective exercises to enable you to live stronger and better.
Contact us to make an appointment to treat an existing condition or help you prevent future problems.