The Health Benefits of Good Posture
How is your posture? As you sit and read this, are you slouched in front of a screen? Reading on your phone with your head tilted down? Sunken into the cozy corner of the couch?
Growing up, we were all told plenty of times to sit up straight. Don’t slouch. Or, my personal favorite, “your back will get stuck that way forever!” Unfortunately, many of us completely ignored this advice, or got lazy with our posture the more hours we spent sitting down.
Why does having good posture matter? There are several benefits! Read on to learn 5 health benefits of good posture, and 10 ways you can make sure you have it!
What is Good Posture?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, your “posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting, or lying down.” Good posture allows you to place the least amount of strain on your supporting muscles and ligaments while moving. Let’s review the proper posture for sitting and lifting.
Correct Sitting Posture.
- Sit with your back touching the back of the chair
- Keep your back straight and your shoulders back
- 3 normal curves should be visible in the spine while sitting
- Distribute your bodyweight evenly between both hips
- Bend your knees at a 90 degree angle
- Keep your knees even with or slightly higher than your hips (use a stool if necessary)
- Do not cross your legs
- Keep your feet flat on the floor (use a stool if necessary)
- Take frequent breaks from sitting (at least every 30 minutes)
- Adjust your chair height so you can maintain a neutral spine while looking at the screen or work
Correct Lifting Posture.
- Before lifting any object, make sure you have firm footing
- To pick up an object lower than waist level, keep your back straight and bend at the knees and hips
- Lift by engaging your stomach muscles and lifting using your leg muscles
- Stand up straight without twisting your body
5 Health Benefits of Good Posture
1. Good posture can boost your confidence. Many of us are far too quick to put ourselves down. Fortunately, studies show than simply correcting your posture can boost your self-confidence! When we exercise good posture, we have more self-esteem than when we are slouching. Need a confidence boost? Sit up!
2. Good posture can boost your energy! The afternoon slump may be due to more than just a lack of caffeine — it may be the slump in your spine. Before you down that 4th cup of coffee, check your posture. Stand up and stretch, and make sure you’re posture is correct when you sit back down. This can provide the energy boost you need to finish the work day strong. In fact, standing or sitting up straight is proven by the journal of Biofeedback to rectify decreased energy and feelings of depression that accompany poor posture.
3. Good posture can reduce your stress levels. A study published by Health Psychology found that sitting up straight when you are stressed out can actually reduce stress levels. It can also boost your mood!
4. Good posture can increase productivity. Proper posture helps the body send signals to the brain that lead to a productivity boost. According to Dana Carney, cognitive psychologist and assistant professor at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, “The amount of change that you see in testosterone when power poses are engaged is like when you win a game. The magnitude of change is the same.” This feeling of power helps us to get tasks done!
5. Good posture facilitates great breathing. If you are slouched over in the car, at your desk, or anywhere in between, you are inhibiting the air flow throughout your body. By sitting up straight, you can actually increase your oxygen intake by almost 30 percent! How? Proper posture allows your chest cavity to open, which means that more oxygen can enter the body and brain. This helps your breathing patterns and leads to an energy boost.
Ways to Improve Your Posture
With so many health benefits stemming from good posture, it’s time to discuss practical ways to make sure that your posture is on point! Read on for more information.
1. Regular chiropractic care. Chiropractic is an easy way to make sure that your posture is perfect! Dr. Fisher at Gold Coast Chiropractic in Chicago, Illinois, can help. As a doctor of chiropractic, Dr. Fisher is an expert in all things related to the spine. He can assess your posture, provide your with exercises to improve it, and correct any subluxations that may be hindering your ability to sit up straight!
2. Pretend your body is held by a string. This simple visual can be very powerful in helping maintaining proper posture. Pretend that your spine and head are being held up by a string from the ceiling. Focus on keeping your spine and head aligned with this imaginary string, while relaxing your shoulders and other parts of the body that feel tense. This should help you keep your back straight, while loosening other muscles!
3. Set an alarm. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to conduct regular posture checks. The longer we sit, the lazier we tend to get with our posture. By using an alarm to remind you to get up and walk around, stretch, and check your posture, you will have far more success in keeping proper posture!
4. Invest in a quality chair. If you spend hours each day sitting down at the office, it’s time to invest in a high quality office chair. Find a chair that has a firm, dense back cushion with lumbar support.
5. Engage in exercises that strengthen your back. The stronger your back muscles are, the easier it is to maintain great posture. Often we find ourselves slouching because our muscles are fatigued. The stronger your back muscles are, the less fatigued they will become with proper posture form.
Contact Gold Coast Chiropractic today to schedule your consultation and appointment with Dr. Fisher. He can assess your posture, offer tips and improvements, and correct any subluxations that are present! We look forward to hearing from you!