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Health and Fitness News

Posture Pointers

What you can do to improve your posture.

Wish you had better posture? Maybe your neck or back have been aching lately and you wonder if it could be caused by your poor posture. Studies show it very well could be. Or maybe you catch yourself slouching and know it’s not good for your back.

Poor posture places stress on the spine and the muscles, bones, and joints that support your spine. But that’s not all. Your bad posture even makes it hard for your lungs and intestines to do their jobs well.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be jealous of people with good posture. You can become one of them. With some practice and core-strengthening exercises, you can get better posture while moving around, standing, sitting, and lying down. Here’s how it’s done.

Be Mindful

In order to have good posture, you need to stay mindful of your posture. No matter what you’re doing, take note of your posture. Whether walking the dog, sitting at your desk, or making dinner, are you doing it hunched over or is your head in line with your body? Set notifications on your phone or smart watch to remind you to stand up straight.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Good posture is also easier if you maintain a healthy weight. Carrying around extra pounds puts pressure on your spine and pelvis, which can strain your back. Take steps to lose weight in order to improve your posture.

Strengthen Your Core

Strong core muscles help support your spine on the road to good posture. Work with your trainer to add core-strengthening exercises to your routine. A few popular exercises include the cat-cow, high or side plank, pigeon pose, downward facing dog, and the cobra pose. Spend five minutes twice a day doing these exercises, and your posture will start getting straightened out.

While Sitting

If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time sitting. During your commute and while at school, work, and school, you’re on your backside. To improve your posture while sitting, avoid staying in the same position for too long. Get up, stretch, and move around at least every hour.

When seated, your feet should be flat on the floor and in front of your knees. You may prefer crossing your legs, but that’s not good for your back. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows next to your body. The chair you’re in should provide proper support for your back, thighs, and hips. Sit back in the chair, and if it’s helpful, place a small pillow or rolled towel at your lower back for support.

While Standing

Don’t want to be hunched over? Then stand up straight and tall. Imagine you’re a puppet being held up by a string attached to your head. Tuck in your chin so your ears line up over the middle of your shoulders. Hold your head up level, pull your shoulders back, keep your legs straight, and tuck in your stomach. Your arms should hang comfortably by your sides, with your feet placed shoulder-width apart.

While Lying Down

Yes, your posture is affected by the way you lie in bed at night, your mattress, and your pillow. You may love a soft mattress, but a firmer mattress that supports your spine is best. Prefer to sleep on your back? Use a thin pillow. Are you a side sleeper? Slightly bend your knees and use a thicker pillow to keep your head in line with your spine.