Friday, November 16, 2018

Tips To Improve Overall Posture

Posture - a word that is all too familiar but yet not practiced enough. You’ve heard all about the importance of posture since you were little. Your mom constantly told you to sit up straight or not to slouch because you’d get “hunchback.” While plenty of us have heard of posture, most of us don’t understand the importance of posture and the benefits good posture can have on your body both physically and mentally. It’s easy to let yourself slouch throughout the day, but every so often, something in your body alerts you to sit up straight, put your shoulders back and pop your chest out. That’s your body’s natural way of telling you that your posture needs some work. By implementing a few tips and tricks throughout your day, you can start to improve your posture.

1. Use a Standing Office Desk

The human body isn’t designed for sustained periods of sitting. If you’re someone who works 9 to 5 at a desk, look into health-conscious options like a standing desk. Sitting at a chair all day will slow down your body’s metabolism. Standing allows your body to remain active as opposed to sedentary. Standing reduces your chances of developing health ailments such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. Standing office desks allow the body to stretch and stand tall to burn more calories during the workday and to let blood circulate more efficiently, which increases productivity and improves your overall energy and posture.

2. Exercise

Not everyone has the time to exercise, but even just 30 to 45 minutes a few times each week can drastically improve your health. Exercise increases your metabolism and encourages the body to naturally burn fat. Exercise can also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Most people who take an interest in exercise eat better and make more health-conscious choices, like consistently making time to exercise four or five times a week. Adding exercise to your day can strengthen core and back muscles, reduce tension and relieve stress, all of which can help you stand tall more naturally throughout the day. If you already feel the downside of sitting at a desk all day, exercise can perk you right up!

3. Stretch

If you can’t find the time to exercise, stretch. Stretch in the morning and stretch at your desk in the middle of the day and before you go to bed. It’s not as time-consuming as it sounds, and more often than not, you’re already stretching if you’re idle at a desk all day and slouched over. Stretching allows you to focus on your breathing and to listen to your body about what areas are causing you discomfort or pain. Stretching can release tension caused by tight muscles and help you stay balanced.

The best thing you can do when you tense up while sitting down is sit up straight. Take a deep breath in. Drop your shoulders. Stick your chest out. Rotate your neck and roll your shoulders. Tighten your core and breathe out. When you’re at home, lay on your back and try to lay flat on the floor without letting your lower back arch off the floor. If your arch is off the ground, your posture needs work. Stick one hand behind your back and practice laying flat enough to “crush” your hand. This will help realign your lower back, strengthen your core and reduce tension and pain in your back. Stretching will do you good and help you improve both your posture and your overall mood.

4. Limit Phone Time

Spending large amounts of time on the phone can cause your neck to get out of whack with your back if you’re constantly leaning toward one side to hold the phone. Staring down at your phone as you scroll through social media apps also causes your posture to be thrown off. Make a conscious effort to sit tall and keep your ears in line with your shoulders to straighten out your neck. You’ll feel the benefits of your posture improving if you practice this throughout the day.

5. Take Breaks

Don’t allow yourself to sit for long periods of time. Take 10 to 15 minutes to stand up and walk away from your desk. Let your legs stretch out and and get your blood circulating. Sitting for long periods of time can throw off posture, decrease blood flow, weaken abdominal muscles, weaken bones and actually decrease life expectancy. If you’re in an office building with multiple levels, walk up and down a few flights of stairs to wake up your body and improve your posture.

6. Walk Evenly on Your Feet

You might read this and think to yourself, ‘I already do.’ But do you really? When you walk, you should be evenly distributing your weight between your feet. Foot posture is equally as important as back posture. Your feet take you everywhere. Flat feet can cause the ankle and knees to roll inward, and this will affect hip joint movement, which affects pelvic bone posture and ultimately affects your lower back posture. It’s all connected. Bad lower back posture causes you to slouch, throwing off your whole structural balance. Foot posture helps improve back posture and makes exercise easier. Foot posture can be improved by wearing shoes with proper insole support and practicing standing tall and straight with both knees facing forward.

Your body's structural balance and alignment are important. Good posture reduces back pain, reduces headaches, increases lung capacity, decreases muscle fatigue and aches, improves circulation and digestion, improves core strength, and reduces the risks of arthritis and cardiovascular disease. Not only does good posture have physical effects, but it can also improve mental health as it offers increased energy levels and self-confidence emanated by standing up straight and walking tall.

The benefits of good posture will do your body and mind wonders. Self-care certainly includes improving your posture. Poor posture can impact the body significantly and cause you daily discomfort and pain. Making a more conscious effort to implement little exercises and practices in your workday can have long-term benefits to your overall health - so go ahead, stand up a little straighter now!

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