How many times were you told to stand up straight or stop slouching as a kid? At the time, it may have seemed like your parents or grandparents were just teaching you proper etiquette — but they were actually giving you invaluable advice.
Good posture is essential to your overall health. Maintaining good posture can reduce neck and back pain, improve balance, aid digestion, and decrease abnormal wear and tear on your joints. Standing up straight also makes you appear taller and leaner.
When you’re ready to straighten up, here are five ways you can improve your posture.
A strong core helps keep your spine stabilized and in alignment, which is why strengthening these muscles is such a vital part of maintaining good posture.
There are plenty of core exercises you can do at home without any special equipment. Incorporating a healthy dose of planks, side planks, crunches, and other core exercises into your workout can help improve your posture.
Practice good posture at all times — even when you’re asleep. Start by choosing a firm mattress that will support the natural curve of your spine. When you sleep on your side, slightly bend your knees and put a pillow under your head to keep it level with your spine.
For the times when you sleep on your back, choose a thin pillow. A thick pillow will push your head too far forward, which can throw off your body’s natural alignment.
Everyday activities, like sitting at a desk for long periods, often cause poor posture. Fortunately, it’s easy to improve your posture by practicing proper office ergonomics.
Start by sitting all the way back in your chair. Adjust the chair’s height so your feet are flat on the floor and your arms rest at the same height as your keyboard. Lower the armrests so your elbows can bend at a 90-degree angle when they are at rest.
Check the height of your computer. The screen should be at eye level, so you don’t have to strain your neck by looking up or down while you work. Making these changes in your workplace can drastically improve your posture over time.
Extra weight can put excessive stress on your muscles and joints, compromising your body’s natural alignment. In addition to strengthening your core muscles, try to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy weight can help in your journey to perfect your posture.
Pretend there is a string extending from the crown of your head straight into the air above it. Imagine that someone is pulling on this invisible string and forcing you to lift your spine, neck, and head. This will help you keep your body in alignment as well.