In addition to looking great, proper posture delivers increased energy, more efficient breathing, improved circulation, and less impact on the joints and muscles. It’s an investment in your health. The secret to good posture is maintaining and supporting the spine’s natural curves. If the spine is not functioning properly, the muscles, ligaments and soft tissues have to work harder to keep the body upright. This can result in pain and discomfort, as well as decreased mobility and function. When the body is slouching, increased pressure it put on the lungs and stomach. This can affect breathing and digestion, as well as blood flow.
Does your posture pass the test?
Use a three-way mirror or have a friend help you check out these markers:
- When standing: your head, shoulders, hips and ankles should line up, one comfortably above the other. Your knees should be slightly bent and your feet should be shoulder-width apart or more.
- When looking at your back: are your shoulders and hips level or is one side higher than the other? Does your head tilt to one side or the other? Does one shoulder blade seem to be more prominent than the other? Do the muscles of the back seem more developed on one side, compared to the other? A healthy back should be symmetrical.
- When looking from the side, your neck and low back should curve to the front of your body, and your mid-back and pelvis should curve to the back. Postural distortions in the curves of your spine mean stress and strain on your back.
Tips for Standing Tall
- If you use a bag or briefcase with a single shoulder strap, choose a strap that is long enough to place over your head and rest on the opposite side from the bag. This helps distribute the weight of the bag evenly and prevents distorting your posture.
- Try not to sit in any one position for a long period of time. Take a quick stretch break or change positions every 30-45 minutes. For a quick and easy spinal stretch, stand up and raise your arms above your head.
- Strengthening your core back and abdominal muscles will help promote good posture by keeping your spine well supported.