When you look at one person, their posture can tell you a lot about the personality. It can also tell you a lot about how their joints and muscles are working. If you are sitting all the time at the office, if you are driving long distances, sleeping in awkward positions and if you use a lot of modern technology devices, then the way you hold your body has been changed a lot.
But not only it looks bad when you don’t hold your body the way you should, it also affects the health of your bones, joints and internal organs, impairing your quality of life in the long term. The great factors to a bad posture can be jobs that require prolonged sitting or standing, lack of physical activity and chronic stress. And when it comes to pain in the back and neck, bad posture is the bad guy here.
You can find a lot of exercises that can strengthen your muscles and will help you with the way you hold your body. A lot of people think that bad posture can be fixed with working out, but the real thing is that posture problems are usually born from bad habits – if you continue to stand, walk, sit and lie the way you’re used to, the pressure on your joints and ligaments will remain the same and your progress will be limited.But if you pair your regular training’s with a few simple yet efficient changes in the three basic body positions – standing, sitting and lying – to balance your muscle activity and ligament alignment, you could easily improve your posture and physical performance and eliminate any existing pain. And all it takes to get there is to have a bit of patience with yourself.
Your body has become used to standing or sitting in the same way, and when it comes to correcting your posture, the body will initially resist the changes and it will be weird and difficult in the start. But with the help of conscious effort and adequate exercise, you can successfully retrain it to stand and sit correctly.
If you are asking from where should you start, then look at these three guidelines we give you to correct your posture during everyday activities.
Position 1: Standing
If you are a person that most of the time is standing, then the reason why you feel pain can be one of these:
- Shifting a bigger part of your weight to one of the legs or forward on your feet
- Slouching the upper back
- Positioning the head forward, i.e. in front of the spine
According to this, the ideal standing position should look like this:
- The feet are pointing straight ahead or slightly out
- The spine is straight and the body is not leaning on either side
- The ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and ears are all aligned
- The weight is evenly distributed across both legs and the entire soles of the feet
- The shoulders are back and relaxed
- The chest is perpendicular to the ground
Perform three quick jumps to regain balance across the whole body, when you catch yourself slouching or getting out of the correct shape.
Position 2: Sitting
These are the few reasons why you may experience pain while sitting:
- Your upper back is slouched
- Your head is positioned in front of the spine
- Your body weight is shifted to one side more than the other
- Your arms are not supported
- One of your legs is crossed over the other
And the ideal sitting position should look like this:
- The feet are flat on the ground and pointing straight ahead or slightly out
- The hips are flexed to 90 degrees
- The hips,shoulders and ears are aligned
- The body weight is evenly distributed on the glutes
- The head is kept straight and not tilted up or down
- The shoulders are back and relaxed
If you are experiencing hunching, raise your arms overhead while sitting, then pull them down and push the elbows down and back. And if your job is to sit for a long period, repeat this exercise as often as possible. It lengthens your spine and opens up your chest, thereby lessening the soreness and pain in the back caused by poor posture and muscular tension.
Position 3: Lying
Most common mistakes made in the lying position include:
- Lying on the side with the body curled up in a fetal position
- Lying on the side with an under-supported or over-supported neck
- Lying on the side with one shoulder and/or hip rotated towards the opposite side
- Lying on your stomach, which causes pressure on the cervical spine
- Having a tall stack of pillows that causes unnatural bending of the neck
The optimal sleeping position should look like this:
- Lying on the side with a slight bend in the knees and hips
- The shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are stacked directly above the opposite side
- The ankles, hips, shoulders and ears are aligned
- One pillow is placed under the head and one can be optionally placed between the arms and knees
- Sides are frequently alternated
In order to correct your sleeping position, you should really try sleeping on the side with a pillow between the legs. In this case you will achieve a more natural alignment of the body.
If you find a perfect position in some corner, you should never stay in it for long periods. No matter how perfect the position is, it is bad for you if you stay for long periods. Every now and then, make sure you take breaks from your work to stretch and walk for a few minutes. Because your body needs to move, this will improve your posture, enhance circulation and sharpen your cognition at the same time.The sooner you start correcting your posture, the easier it will be for your body to adapt to the changes, and before you know it, you’ll feel relaxed and confident in your own body. Always keep your head up, and start replacing the bad habits with healthy ones, and you will be surprised how good it will be with a corrected posture.