Remember when your teacher constantly shouted, "no slouching" in school? At the time, you may have thought it was no big deal. After all, everyone slouches, right? So what harm can it really do?
As it turns out, bad posture doesn't only affect how you look. It can also harm the health of your back by putting strain on the muscles around your spine. That might explain why you experience those bothersome aches and pains so frequently.
The good news is that there are many effective methods for improving your posture and decreasing your back pain. Here are a few you can try immediately!
1. Wear the Right Shoes
While high heeled shoes look amazing, they're not the greatest for your body. High heels throw off your balance and make it harder to maintain good posture while standing. They also put stress on your feet, ankles, and knees, which may lead to joint dysfunction down the line.
You don't have to give up heels forever, but you should limit them to special occasions. Instead, look for comfortable, supportive shoes that also offer style and visual appeal. What a great excuse to go shoe shopping!
2. Start an Exercise Regimen
Building up your core muscles makes it easier to maintain good posture, as your spine will be supported appropriately. Exercise can also improve joint flexibility, help you maintain a healthy weight, and provide ample energy.
Core exercises include sit ups and crunches, but planks are also beneficial. You can also look into joining a yoga class at your local gym to enhance flexibility. If you currently experience joint issues, swimming offers a full body workout without inflaming your joints.
3. Sit Correctly at Your Desk
For office workers, seated posture is a major concern. Sitting for many hours a day can wreak havoc on the health of your spine, which will lead to a wide range of back problems and dysfunction.
The first step is to modify your workstation for maximum health. Your computer and keyboard should be easily accessible from your chair, so no straining is necessary. Additionally, the monitor or screen must be at eye level to keep your neck straight.
When it comes to your chair, be sure to sit up straight so your shoulders are firmly against the back. Your feet should be flat on the ground with your knees bent. Don't cross your legs, as this creates an imbalance in your body. Chairs with neck and lumbar support are also preferred.
4. Reduce Use of Mobile Devices
Have you ever heard of "text neck"? Think about how you usually look at your phone when checking out your favorite social media sites or reading the news. Chances are that your neck is probably bent over the screen as you scroll.
This posture can put a major strain on the neck and spine, especially when it's a regular habit. Accordingly, try to limit your use of a mobile device to two hours a day or less. And when looking at your smartphone, keep your head elevated and your neck straight.
5. Be Mindful of How You Sleep
Sleeping posture is another important factor to consider. The way you sleep can contribute to back pain during your waking hours. This is particularly true if you regularly sleep on your back, which can create a lot of stress on the lower spine.
Instead, try sleeping on your side. If you need a little extra support, place a pillow between your legs to keep the spine in proper alignment. And if your mattress has seen better days, consider an upgrade.
The hidden benefit of good posture is a more confident, in-command demeanor. As you build strength and adjust your habits, you'll also experience a surge of self-esteem and good feelings!