meditation and painDo you find yourself slouching? Are your neck and shoulders tense? Do you have neck or back pain? If so, the reason may be down to how you stand and sit. Take a look below at 9 tips on how to improve poor posture.

21st-century living means we have a more sedentary lifestyle than previous generations. Many of us spend our days sitting in front of computer screens at work and then go home to relax in front of even more screens. Films, computer games, and social media involve yet more sitting with our head and neck in a particular position.

It’s little wonder that so many people suffer from neck and back problems. Improving your posture can help alleviate muscle tension, give you a better overall sense of well-being, and make you look better. Below, we look at common posture mistakes, and how to improve poor posture.

How to Improve Poor Posture?

9 Easy Ways to Improve Your Posture

 

1. Know what a correct posture feels like

If you have poor posture, the first thing to do is stand with your back against a wall. Now you know how good posture feels.

 

2. Standing

To help correct your standing posture, imagine there is a string attached to the top of your head pulling you upwards. Keep your shoulders straight and square, your head up, so that your neck, back, and heels are all aligned.

 

3. Don’t lean on one leg

  • You may have developed the habit of leaning on one leg while standing as it can feel comfortable. However, this puts excessive pressure on one side of your lower back and hip.
  • Stand with your weight evenly distributed on both legs, using your buttocks and core muscles to keep you upright.

 

4. Avoid slouching when walking

  • Slouching while walking puts strain on your muscles and soft tissues.
  • Walk as if you had a book balancing on your head. Hold your head up, shoulders back, chest out, and your eyes looking straight ahead.

 

5. Avoid sitting in a hunched position.

  • If you spend long periods at a desk studying or working on a computer, chances are you will have developed a habit of slouching. Sitting in a hunched position can cause you to develop a rounded upper back. This can result in your shoulders and upper back becoming stiff.
  • If you work at a desk and have the option, use an ergonomically designed chair. This will give you proper support. If this is not an option, place a small pillow on your back for lumbar support.
  • Align your back with the back of your chair. This will help you avoid slouching or leaning forward.
  • When using a computer, adjust your seating and the position of the monitor. Sitting too low, or with the screen set too high, can lead to a ‘poking chin posture’.
  • When sitting at a desk, keep both feet on the ground.
  • Develop the habit of sitting correctly wherever you are – the office, college, at home, in a café, theater or watching sport. It may feel awkward at first as your muscles have not been conditioned to supporting you in the correct position.

 

6. Avoid cradling the phone.

If you’re busy at work or trying to do several things at once while looking after the children, you may free your hands by cradling your phone. However, holding it between your ear and shoulder places strain on your neck, upper back and shoulder muscles. Try to get avoid the habit, or use a hands-free device.

 

7. Get a good night’s sleep

How you sleep can affect your waking posture:

  • Use a firmer mattress to give you good back support.
  • Sleeping on your back keeps your shoulders straight.
  • If you prefer sleeping on your side, place a small flat pillow between your knees. This helps keep your spine aligned and straight.
  • Use a good pillow to provide support for your head and shoulders. Don’t use too many pillows as this keeps your head in an unnatural position. This will give you a stiff neck and affect your posture.

 

8. Sit correctly while driving.

Keep your back against the seat and headrest. Adjust the headrest so that the middle of your head rests against it. Maintain a distance of no more than four inches (10cm) between the back of your head and the headrest.

9. Exercise

Exercises help strengthen your core (the abdominal and low back muscles that connect to your spine and pelvis). Yoga, Pilates, and core fitness exercises are particularly effective as they target your core.

Slouch when walking and sitting can cause neck and back problems. If you want to know how to improve poor posture, try including some of the above strategies into your day and you will soon feel the benefits.