Why and How to Focus on Good Posture to Strengthen Your Back
While posture isn’t something most of us are thinking about regularly, having poor posture can actually affect our health in a number of ways. Conversely, taking steps to improve your posture will have a variety of positive effects on your back and other areas of your body.
Good posture starts with adopting more comfortable positions for things like sitting down, sleeping, standing up, and some common activities such as driving or lifting. While undergoing these adjustments, you may want to consult with your doctor or leverage direct access to physical therapy in order to ensure you aren’t going to hurt yourself.
Continue reading to learn how you can make small adjustments to your posture that add up to major changes in your comfort.
Why Should I Care about Posture?
Most people aren’t aware of the ways in which better posture can affect your life. When you becomes accustomed to healthier positions, your weight is more evenly distributed throughout your body, removing unnecessary stress from muscles in your back. These are some of the most common changes people notice after they fine-tune their posture:
- Lowers risk of health issues stemming from overuse or strain
- Decreases fatigue through
a moreefficient utilization of muscles
- Reduces stress on the joints responsible for holding the spine together
- Leads to less wear on the surfaces of joints
- Aligns joints and bones properly, which allows muscles to function correctly
- Helps alleviate symptoms of back pain
How to Start Changing Your Posture
It’s never too late to improve your posture, but it’s also common for your body to adjust to poor habits, so long-term issues typically take longer to treat. The easiest places to begin making changes are sleeping and sitting down, usually the positions in which people are most accustomed to poor posture.
The healthiest sleeping positions for your back are on your back or side, so you should stop sleeping on your stomach if that’s what you’re used to. This is especially true if you have a softer mattress; a firmer one simply provides more back support regardless of your position.
One very common mistake people make when they go to bed is allowing their pillow to support their head and shoulders. While a pillow is necessary to limit strain on your neck, raising your shoulders prevents your back from resting naturally on the bed. Most people aren’t aware that a poor sleeping position is a major cause of back pain.
Sitting with Good Posture
Slouching or slumping in a chair may feel more comfortable, but it’s also likely forcing some of your muscles to strain more than they should. When sitting, your shoulders should be pushed back with your back straight against the chair. Your knees should be at a right angle, allowing your feet to softly touch the floor.
Aside from sitting down and going to bed, you should try to adjust your posture for activities like driving and lifting depending on your lifestyle. Bad habits can have a surprising impact on your back health if they’re forcing you to strain, especially for long periods of time.
Posture is an important contributor to the strength and comfort of your back, and many of us are used to having bad posture every day. Examining your own habits and improving your posture will likely lead to feeling more comfortable with decreased pain.
“Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.”
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