Unless you grew up balancing books on your head as you walked, you might be wondering, “what is good posture?” Good posture is the way your body is positioned in any state. Whether that’s walking, sleeping or resting, your body posture says a lot about you and your state of mind when it is held in the most natural form. Proper posture can actually improve your body function while making you appear taller and more confident, and even more approachable. Do you want to be the person everybody notices when they walk into a room? Shoulders back, and keep reading…
What Is Good Posture? An Overview
You might remember being told by your parents to “stand up straight.” Correcting posture is something most elders feel ingrained to do, especially after seeing children slumped at the shoulders, practicing poor posture at the dinner table, or inside the church pew. While bad posture makes people appear disinterested, less confident, and shy, poor posture also does a body no good.
Incorrect body positioning can lead to all sorts of chronic back pain, and in turn that can lead to more slouching. Take a look at the many ways bad posture can affect your state of well-being.
The Effects of Bad Posture
Some people have no idea they have bad posture, while others can feel it. The following symptoms are likely due to the effects of bad posture:
Lower and mid back pain –
If you’re sitting in a chair or without support all day, you might experience chronic lower and mid back pain if you also have bad posture. Sitting for prolonged periods puts stress on your joints and makes them stiffen, and more uncomfortable to move. If you have spasms, periods of pain, or chronic discomfort throughout the day, posture could be to blame.
Emotional distance –
Do you find yourself escaping under slumped shoulders, and a hoodie perhaps? Poor posture is a welcome retreat if you have an introverted personality, but be forewarned that slumping can have an effect on your social life, as well as your career. Employers look for confident and outgoing prospects, no matter the line of work. If you find yourself hibernating behind an arched back, you could be sending nonverbal clues that you’re unmotivated, uninterested, and lacking enthusiasm. Is that the message you want to send?
Neck pain –
Bad posture can also lead to pain in your neck. Your head and neck both depend on a straight spine for support and mobility. If your spine is hunched or twisted, your neck will feel the effects. Just think about your poor posture and neck pain, and how they could be related. If you’re also experiencing headaches, poor posture and neck pain could be the cause. Aligning your body throughout the day and ensuring you’re sitting or standing straight can help alleviate neck pain and prevent further strains from poor body posture.
Do You Have Bad Posture?
How do you know you have bad posture? Unless somebody has told you so, you might not be aware of any slouching that you do. Instead you’ll have to look at a few physical clues that might indicate you’re not sitting straight.
Are your shoulders pointing downwards while you sit? Your shoulders should be slightly rounded and upright. If you can glance in the mirror and see the top of your shoulders tilting forward, then you are leaning too far, and causing stress on your lower lumbar area.
When you walk, do you hold your head high? Imagine walking past a storefront window (or better yet, do it)! Take a glance at yourself. Does it look like you could balance an object safely atop your head? If not, or if it looks like a book would fall, you are likely leaning too much as you walk.
Stand against a wall. Now place your shoulders back. Push your head against the wall and also hold that upright with your chin slightly outwards. Do you feel the straightness of your spine? This is how you should be walking all the time! Feels pretty good doesn’t it? While practicing this correct posture position will take some time, and reminding- look at how much taller you already look, and feel the relief off your lower back as your abdominal wall now properly support your spine.
How to Correct Your Posture
Correcting your posture will take time and effort. Don’t expect to break a lifetime bad habit in one day. Changing the way you sit and stand takes dedication and mindfulness. If you have family or support members who know you’re working on correcting your alignment, then who better to ask? Loved ones can keep tabs on your positioning and point out when you begin to slump, and catching it early means you can begin training your mind to sit and stand differently.
In addition to learning how to balance, walk straight, and keep your shoulders back, you can also learn to correct your posture by practicing exercises that are focused on aligning the spinal column and lengthening it. Low-impact mat exercises such as Pilates and yoga can both do wonders when you are trying to improve your stance.
Now that you know what is considered good posture, you can begin working on your own and reap the benefits of a taller and better functioning physique. Proper body positioning not only feels good and looks good, it sets a good example for everyone else to follow.
While posture can certainly cause chronic back issues, there may be something else going on. Finding relief for back pain may take a proper diagnosis from a specialist to rule out any underlying medical problems, especially if your symptoms have a sudden onset. Do you need to find a specialist in your area? The Relief Institute brings together top doctors throughout the Dallas Fort Worth area. If you need a specialist recommendation for your back or spine pain
, please contact the Relief Institute today. A pain free life is worth it.