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Tips to Improve Your Posture
Many people think of posture as how you sit at your desk or stand when you’re on your feet all day. However, posture impacts more than you may think.
The word posture is referring to how your spine curves and how your muscles engage while you’re standing and sitting.1 Your musculoskeletal system is involved when it comes to posture, and throughout your life, this system is what will get you through work, hobbies, and any kind of activity.2
Here is the importance of posture, what can cause bad posture, and health conditions that poor posture can lead to. We also share some tips on how to improve posture.
Why Posture is Important
Good posture is known as a “neutral spine.” With good posture, the muscles surrounding the spine are balanced and equally supporting the body.3
When you stand or sit with proper alignment, it benefits your whole body. It improves blood flow, keeps your blood vessels and nerves healthy, and supports tendons and muscles. Good posture also decreases the wear and tear on your joints, which can decrease your risk of injury.4
What can cause poor posture?
There are numerous factors that can influence or lead to poor posture.5
- Lack of flexibility that decreases your range of motion
- Loss of muscle strength
- Daily habits
- Carrying heavy bags
- Shoes you wear
What can poor posture result in?
Poor posture can result in additional health concerns, including6:
- Arthritis exacerbation
- Lower breath quality
- Circulation problems
- Shoulder and back pain
- Increased risk of falls, especially for older adults
Benefits of Good Posture
Good posture has many benefits that can improve your physical and mental wellbeing.3
- Bone and muscle health – good posture reduces stress on your body, and allows your bones and muscles to work together in proper alignment
- Reduced back pain – proper alignment of the spine allows your body to support your weight and reduce stress on tendons, muscles, and ligaments
- Fewer headaches – bad posture can increase tension in the neck and shoulders, causing headaches
- Less tension in the neck – good posture reduces tension in the neck and shoulders that comes with poor posture
- Decreased risk of injury – good posture improves strength and flexibility, decreasing your chance of injury
- Increased lung capacity – with less pressure on the diaphragm, it makes it easier to breathe7
- Improved circulation – Poor posture, or slouching, can harm the flow of blood and affect circulation8
- Improved digestion – poor posture can impact abdominal organs and interfere with normal digestion
- Improved core strength – a strengthened core improves posture and vice versa
How to Improve Posture
What is good posture?
Now that you know all the benefits of good posture, you may be wondering how to fix bad posture. Here is how to improve posture by practicing the proper ways to stand, sit, and lift.9
- If you sit at a desk during the day, make sure your feet are flat on the floor in front of you. Your back and shoulders should rest flat against the back of your chair. Your knees should be the same height as your hips, not lower. Your screen should be at eye level.
- If you stand most of the day, stand without locking your knees. Wear supportive shoes. Try keeping your abdomen in by utilizing those core muscles, and keep your shoulders relaxed and rolled back.
- If your job involves any kind of lifting, it’s important to have proper form for this as well. Have a wide stance with your feet while keeping your back straight. Keep your abdomen tight when bending down and lifting. Make sure to lift with your legs, instead of pulling up with your back. Practice this a few times with no weight.
Exercises to improve posture
If you’re looking for movements and ways to strengthen your body to sit and stand better, here are some exercises to improve posture.10
- Chin tucks – You can do this exercise while sitting down. Sit upright and look ahead. Pull the chin down toward the chest and hold for 5 seconds. Release and repeat 10 times. This exercise can help relieve neck tension and pain while strengthening the neck and flexibility.
- Leg extension – This exercise can be done while sitting down. Sit with your feet planted on the floor. Slowly lift one leg to a horizontal position out in front of you, and then return to the floor. Repeat this on both sides 10 times. This exercise will train your core muscles to keep your pelvis stable, which can improve posture over time.
- Pelvic tilt – Sit upright in a chair. Press your lower back into the chair by slowly arching your back. Hold for 3 seconds, then release and repeat 10 times. This exercise is a great option to activate abdominal and oblique muscles, which can improve core strength and posture.
- Calf raises – Stand next to and rest your hands on a sturdy object or wall. Raise up on the balls of your feet or toes so that your heels are off the ground. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the ground and repeat. This exercise helps strengthen the calf muscles, which can improve your posture if you’re on your feet most of the day.
- Trunk rotation – Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your feet on the floor, and allow your knees to fall to each side. By moving your knees to each side slowly, your abdominal muscles should activate. Repeat 5 to 10 times on each side. This exercise increases flexibility in the lower body, mainly in the hips and lower back, and allows for greater mobility in the spine.
Improve Your Posture Today
We encourage you to try these tips to improve your posture and reduce your risk of related health conditions associated with poor posture. If your posture affects your daily activities, check with a medical professional on exercises to improve posture.
Here at Saber Healthcare, our physical therapy departments utilize our exclusive Progressive Approach to Home (PATH) program to customize treatment plans for each individual. Our physical therapists help residents regain strength and mobility, while increasing coordination and endurance.
Saber Healthcare is an organization that provides services to more than 115 buildings across the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Delaware, and Florida. To learn more about our company and services, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Posture and How It Affects Your Health.” Lifespan Health System, lifespan.org. June 7th, 2022. Accessed January 10th, 2023. https://www.lifespan.org/lifespan-living/posture-and-how-it-affects-your-health.
- “Getting It Straight: Improve Your Posture for Better Health.” National Institutes of Health, newsinhealth.nih.gov. August 2017. Accessed January 11th, 2023. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2017/08/getting-it-straight.
- Bubnis, Daniel. “These 12 Exercises Will Help You Reap the Health Benefits of Good Posture.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. April 13th, 2020. Accessed January 10th, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/posture-benefits.
- “The Importance of Posture.” Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, barringtonortho.com. June 9th, 2020. Accessed January 11th, 2023. https://www.barringtonortho.com/blog/the-importance-of-posture#:~:text=Proper%20posture%20improves%20spine%20health&text=Sitting%20and%20standing%20with%20proper,related%20back%20and%20neck%20pain.
- Asher, Anne. “What Causes Bad Posture.” Dotdash Media, verywellhealth.com. November 21st, 2022. Accessed January 10th, 2023. https://www.verywellhealth.com/posture-fixes-what-are-you-up-against-297037.
- Castaneda, Ruben. “10 Ways Poor Posture Can Harm Your Health.” U.S. News & World Report, health.usnews.com. July 21st, 2022. Accessed January 10th, 2023. https://health.usnews.com/wellness/slideshows/ways-bad-posture-can-harm-your-health.
- Ferraro, Kathleen. “10 Benefits of Good Posture, According to Experts.” Dotdash Meredith, byrdie.com. October 25th, 2021. Accessed January 16th, 2023. https://www.byrdie.com/benefits-of-good-posture-5188919.
- “The Physical Benefits of Having Good Posture.” Upright, uprightpose.com. Accessed January 16th, 2023. https://www.uprightpose.com/blog/4-benefits-good-physical-posture/#:~:text=Correct%20Posture%20Improves%20Your%20Blood%20Circulation&text=Because%20your%20body%20needs%20a,again%20to%20help%20regulate%20everything.
- Minnis, Gregory. “Exercises and tips for better posture.” Healthline Media, Medical News Today. July 7th, 2022. Accessed January 16th, 2023. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325883.
- “7 Benefits of Improved Posture at Work + Exercises to Help.” University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, usa.edu. August 24th, 2020. Accessed January 11th, 2023. https://www.usa.edu/blog/how-to-improve-posture/.