Dr. Monica Ngo
Guide to Improving Your Posture | Unity Spine and Health
Updated: Jan 27, 2022
Table of Contents
What causes poor posture?
Conditions which impair one or more of the body's supporting structures, such as the spine, back muscles, hips, shoulders, neck and abdominal wall, can also create posture issues.
People with hereditary disorders that impact the curvature of the spine and hips can correct posture from birth in some situations. Such problems can be addressed to reduce the negative impact on posture which they can have over time. In some situations, injuries sustained while participating in sports or other activities might change posture, as the body attempts to protect itself from further injuries (such as limping when your foot is injured).
Our posture often changes due to our work or other activities which cause misuse of various body parts. Underuse can be a concern as well. Weak back muscles on either side of the spine, or weak abdominal wall muscles in front of our bodies, for example, might make it difficult to maintain excellent posture.
Many people's muscles and ligaments tighten or weaken due to sitting for long periods of time. This can also result in bad posture.
Tips for how to improve your posture
Regular exercise, even a brisk 10-minute walk, can help improve your overall health and posture by keeping your body supple and active.
Gentle workouts like yoga and Pilates can help strengthen and improve your posture by improving the support muscles in your back and stomach. Concentrate on strengthening your core muscles (torso and pelvis) daily.
Simple stretching exercises should be done for 10 minutes each day.
Stand tall by straightening your spine, lowering your shoulders to their natural resting position and inhaling deeply to contract your abdominal muscles.
Simple head movements can help release tight neck muscles which can make it difficult to maintain excellent posture. Make little circles with your head, or move it from front to back and side to side.
Allow your body to restore its normal resting position by lying flat on the ground on your back for two to three minutes once a day, without utilizing any cushions or support.
To aid in even weight distribution, wear flat, well-fitting shoes.
Lift objects with your hips, knees, and thighs rather than your back.
What you can do at home
When seated, avoid crossing your legs since it can overstretch one side of your leg muscles and alter the alignment of your spine over time (especially if you cross your legs the same way, every time). Spend as little time as possible on low-sitting sofas or particularly soft chairs. When sleeping, try to utilize a single firm support pillow to avoid neck strain. Lying on your side with your knees bent is the best position; make sure you have a firm mattress as well.
Make sure the weight of any luggage or heavy objects is distributed evenly on both sides of your body. Weight can be distributed equally over your shoulders with a backpack. If you're a caregiver who spends a lot of time lifting, pushing or carrying the person you're caring for, make sure you're taking care of your posture.
How to improve your workplace posture
Keep your back straight, knees and hips level, and your feet flat on the ground while seated. To keep your hips and knees level, you might make use of a footrest. If you sit for long periods, you should use a small rolled towel or a commercial device to support your lower back against the back of your chair.
When using a laptop or desktop computer, avoid sitting in a slumped position for long periods. Make sure you get up and walk around frequently to keep your body in a looser position. Ask your company for training on how to lift and carry big or bulky, awkward goods, if your employment requires a lot of repetitive activities such as lifting and bending.
You may get phone strain if you spend a lot of time on the phone. A headset is more comfortable than laying your phone on your shoulder and twisting your neck to keep it in place.
How to improve your driving posture
To ensure safe and comfortable driving, ensure your car seat and headrest are in the proper positions. Adjust the steering wheel so it’s level with your chest rather than your face. Bend your arms and place your thumbs on the steering wheel's rim. Set yourself deep in the seat, supporting your body with your left foot, and keep the seat reasonably upright to support your back and shoulders.
For more information on how to improve your posture, visit unityspinehealth.ca or call us in London at (226) 223-2437 today.