Poor posture: most of us have it, few of us understand exactly how damaging it can be to our overall health. According toHarvard Medical School, poor posture can lead to everything from back and neck conditions to incontinence, constipation, heartburn, and slowed digestion. Surprising? It is for most people. When you think about it, though, the spine acts as the foundation of the human body. Home to some of our most critical neural pathways, it’s not a surprise that jamming our spines into unnatural shapes or slouching for 9 hours a day can create some serious problems. Don’t worry, though. It doesn’t have to be your reality. Here's a breakdown on how to improve your posture and avoid the dangerous health conditions that come with slouching.
The Definition of PostureMost of us understand, anecdotally, what posture is. If you’ve ever wondered how the pros define either, though, here's your answer, from theAmerican Chiropractic Association (ACA): “Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting, or lying down. Good posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity. Without posture and the muscles that control it, we would fall to the ground.” In our everyday lives, most of us don’t overthink about our posture. As such, we neglect it, allowing the muscle groups that are primarily responsible for it to go unused and atrophy in the process. While this can make it harder to develop good posture and it’s still far from impossible.
Why Bad Posture is so DamagingSlouching: it might seem inconsequential, but it has some surprising health effects. First of all, slouching puts excess stress on your spine. It also strains your bones, muscles, and joints, and makes it more difficult for you to hold your body in the correct position. As it turns out, bad posture isn’t just bad for your spine - it also does a number on your internal organs. Constant slumping smashes your internal organs together, making it harder for your lungs and intensities to do their jobs optimally. Over time, that can impact your digestive function and make it difficult for your body to get enough air when you breathe.
How to Improve Your Posture: 4 Chiropractor-Approved RecommendationsWant to look better in pictures? Get rid of that persistent pain in your lower back? Feel better and more active every day? Try these simple posture-improving tips:
1. Practice Some Light YogaIf you’ve been sitting all slumped-up for a few years, the first step in improving your posture is training your spine to fit into new shapes. With this in mind, incorporate some simple yoga poses into your daily life. Child’s pose, for example, is a great place to start. To get into child’s pose, follow this step-by-step:
2. Fix Your Desk PostureOur desks are a virtual minefield for our posture. Between improperly-aligned computers, low-quality chairs, and common workday fatigue, most of us harm our spines while we work all day. To avoid this, make sure your desk setup isas ergonomic as possible. Here are some tips:
3. Wear Supportive ShoesHeels might look great, but they should be used sparingly. Because heeled shoes thrust the base of your spine forward, they create an unnatural arch in your back, harming your posture and leading to complications. Instead, wear supportive, low-heeled shoes with plenty of arch support. Ask your chiropractor for some recommendations, if you’re not sure where to turn.
4. Get Enough ExerciseOne of the best ways to improve your posture? Improve and enhance the muscle groups responsible for it. Well-designed workout plans, which focus on incorporating cardio and strength training, with a focus on the back, core, and legs, will help your spine feel great for years to come.
Better Posture Starts HereIf you’re concerned about improving your posture, these four tips are an excellent place to start. By improving your environment, focusing on making your body stronger, and wearing shoes that support your spine, you can enhance your posture and feel better every day. Need some additional support to improve your posture? Contact our office and book your first chiropractic appointment today.