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Tips for Improving Your Posture

Whether by a parent or a particularly stern teacher, you’ve almost certainly been told to stand up straighter or not slouch in your chair. In short, you’ve been advised to fix your posture. Even if the frequent reminders were irritating in your younger years, there’s no denying that it is an important part of long-term health. Thankfully, there are a couple of easy ways to improve your posture.

Why posture is important

The most obvious reason to work on your posture is to avoid subjecting your spine to unnecessary stress, but poor sitting, standing, and sleeping positions can also put you at elevated risk for injury. For example, slouching can weaken core and back muscles, which could result in general back pain and pulled or torn muscles.

The right way to sit

It’s easy to default to a hunched over position when sitting — especially if you work at a desk for a living — but there’s more to proper posture than just straightening your back. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that you keep your feet flat on the floor rather than crossing them or tucking them under your chair, make sure your knees are in line with or slightly below your hips, and configure your chair to support your middle and lower back. It’s also a bad idea to spend too much time leaning all the way back in your chair as it will contribute to muscle weakness over time.

The right way to stand

Standing with good posture will take some conscious effort at first, but it will make you feel and look better in the long run. The first step is to straighten your back when you stand and walk. An easy way to do this is to imagine that you’re standing up against a wall like you’re measuring your height. Next, try to put the majority of your weight on the balls of your feet and keep them shoulder-width apart. Work on keeping your shoulders pulled back and do your best not to let your head drift forward. A good rule of thumb is to keep your ears in line with your shoulders.

The right way to sleep

Sleep is the ultimate level of relaxation, but that doesn’t mean you should let it harm your posture. The most basic — and important — thing you can do to improve your sleep and posture is to find a mattress that offers the right balance between bounce and sink. If a mattress is too firm, it can feel like sleeping on a hardwood floor. If it’s too soft, it can end up bending your body in a way that hurts your backbone.

If you can, avoid sleeping on your stomach as it can torque your spine if you turn the upper half of your body in the middle of the night. Also, consider getting a special posture-correcting pillow if you’ve noticed increased muscle tension in the mornings. If back pain is a factor, try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs.

It might feel like a hassle at first, but working on improving your posture is an easy way to positively impact your health. If you want more information, consult your family doctor or a trusted chiropractic expert.

This article is presented by Oakland Acura.
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