Many of us will encounter health issues relating to, or affecting, our posture. Poor posture can have a variety of effects on our bodies such as difficulties with breathing and poor digestion, amongst others. However, they are often not dealt with until the effects are more prominent. Posture problems usually occur gradually and compared to other health issues, often fly under the radar. Whether you currently have poor posture or want to prevent it from occurring, below are four tips to getting and maintaining, good posture.
1) Don’t slouch
Easier said than done, right? Slouching is a bad habit, that is not only damaging for your health, but can also give off a negative impression in front of others. Most chairs and seats were designed to be ergonomic and comfortable, and this means when sitting you should be following the design on the seat. Some of these were even designed with correction of posture in mind. If your back is not fully supported while sitting then you are likely not sitting down correctly.
Sit down with your back upright in a position where less pressure is being put on the pubic and tailbone. Leaning forward or backward while sitting down can put undue strain on different sets on muscles, organs and joints. Your organs, for example, will have to work harder if they are being squashed.
2) Lift safely and correctly
If your job involves physical exertion such as lifting boxes, then you will likely have been taught how to lift safely so as to avoid injury. A large proportion of sick days occur due to injuries sustained that could have been avoided. Incorrect lifting techniques account for many of these.
When lifting from the ground up, do not keep your legs straight and bend over. You should squat down to hold the item and push up with your back straight in order to avoid straining your back. The real effort when lifting something off the ground should be with your legs, not your back.
3) Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes
Try not to wear heels too often, if possible. While they may be stylish, they cause a lot of strain on your back by pushing the spine forward, causing an over-arching back. This inevitably leads to back-pain. High-heeled shoes, especially those with a thin heel can also amplify stress on the knees that already need to work harder to stabilise the body.
Sneakers, on the other hand, might be designed with comfort in mind, but nowadays there is a proliferation of the types made with thinner, lighter, and less sturdy materials. While they might look great and be light on the feel, their flimsiness can make the wearer more prone to rolling their ankles, causing injury.
4) Stretch often
In this smartphone era, we are beginning to see many cases of poor posture due to “texting neck” – heads rolled forward because of hours spent staring at their phone screen. Rather than bending your head down, lift your phone up instead closer to eye level. Stretch your neck often by tilting it in different directions and holding it for a few seconds. This will loosen up muscles and increase blood flow, reducing the chance of injury.