How to Achieve Good Posture 24/7
Great posture takes work, but it’s worth the effort. Our posture helps us balance and supports our bodies as we sit, relax and move through life. Excellent posture allows us to enjoy ourselves and can also prevent painful health conditions, including arthritis and spinal issues.
In this article, we’ll review the importance of good posture, including the role it plays in helping you live a happy, healthy life. We’ll also tell you what poor posture does to your body over long periods and share helpful tips to help you improve your posture.
Importance of Good Posture
Good posture doesn’t come naturally to most people. Instead, it’s a habit that has to be built up through awareness, modified habits and ongoing practice. Fortunately, almost everyone can achieve proper posture by training their body and mind over the long term.
Your posture plays an essential role in your ability to enjoy life. When a person has good posture, their body is in the ideal position for standing, walking, sitting and lying down. These positions are critical for most work and leisure activities, and good posture enables you to perform tasks that are necessary for a happy, fulfilling life.
There are many benefits to good posture, including:
- Preventing injury and pain
- Lowered risk of disease
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved focus
- Increased energy levels
- Boosted self-esteem and confidence
From a physical health perspective, good posture reduces strain on your organs, muscles, joints and ligaments, which allows for optimal movement and rest. It also enables your body to function more efficiently and reduces muscle strain and fatigue. People with good posture often feel more energetic, less anxious and physically healthy. Long-term, an ideal posture can prevent wear on joint surfaces and minimize strain on spinal ligaments, helping to prevent degenerative pain, arthritis and other debilitating health conditions.
Your posture directly impacts how well your body can move and is an integral part of your overall health. Improving your posture can prevent pain and help you participate in the activities you enjoy for decades to come.
What Causes Poor Posture?
Poor posture occurs when the body’s core muscles and ligaments don’t correctly support the skeleton, which leads to physical stress or strain. There can be several reasons for this lack of support, including weakened muscles, limited joint muscles or poor flexibility. Regardless of the physical reason behind poor posture, most postural issues are caused by bad habits.
Your postural muscles play a critical role in maintaining an ideal posture. Postural muscles include your large back muscles, hamstrings and other muscles that help support posture. Our actions impact how those muscles develop, which determines posture.
For example, postural muscles weaken when someone lives a sedentary lifestyle or routinely allows their body to hunch, slouch or fall into another unnatural position. Because these positions don’t force the postural muscles to work correctly, those muscles stop working as hard, which leads to poor posture.
But weakened postural muscles aren’t the only reason people have bad posture. Limited flexibility, unusually tight muscles and unhealthy standing or sitting routines can also lead to poor posture. People are also more likely to have poor posture if they are stressed, obese or pregnant. Fortunately, all of these situations can be improved with care and attention.
Our bodies fall into bad habits and unnatural positions as we participate in a world that isn’t set up for proper ergonomics.
Here are some examples of repeatable habits that can destroy a person’s posture, including:
- Hunching over while working on a computer
- Slouching on the couch
- Wearing high heels
- Carrying heavy bags on one shoulder
Poor posture is caused by poor habits that are frequently repeated. Look closely at the environments you spend your time in and pay attention to your actions throughout the day. You will likely pick up on many of your habits that lead to poor posture.
Poor Posture and Chronic Pain
Poor posture over can eventually lead to numerous health issues and result in chronic pain. When your body falls into unnatural positions, it causes strain that wouldn’t otherwise occur. Over time, this strain can cause more significant problems and lead to ongoing pain.
The most common symptom of poor posture is pain that occurs in the back, neck, shoulders or other parts of the body. This pain occurs when the body has to support a person’s weight unnaturally. Pain from poor posture may come and go, typically getting worse as an activity is performed with poor posture, or it may be chronic.
In some cases, poor posture can have detrimental impacts on your musculoskeletal system, such as arthritis or herniated discs. These conditions can be incredibly painful and may get worse over time, especially if the cause isn’t corrected.
Improper posture can also restrict the abdominal cavity, causing chronic issues within the chest. Your lungs, heart or digestive organs may not be able to function correctly, which can lead to severe, chronic symptoms. In some cases, poor posture can have serious impacts on a person’s respiratory, digestive and circulatory systems.
When poor posture restricts the circulatory system, several additional issues can occur. Your brain may not get all the oxygen required, resulting in a persistent tired or sluggish feeling. Limited circulation can also elevate your heart rate and reduce blood flow, making you feel anxious and uneasy.
Nobody deserves to live in pain, and good posture is one of the simplest ways to prevent chronic health issues and support your body.
Practicing Good Posture 24/7
Good posture requires practice. If you have bad posture, you may need to practice good posture 24/7 until your body gets used to holding a better posture. Fortunately, the more you practice having good posture, the easier it will be to maintain. As you make a habit of having good posture, your muscles strengthen, and your body will become familiar with proper positioning.
You probably already understand how lifting weights can strengthen some of your muscles over time. Strength-building activities like weightlifting build up muscle strength by forcing muscles to do work regularly. Postural muscles are no different and can be strengthened when you force them to work by correcting your posture.
Your posture is correct when you have a neutral spine, regardless of whether you’re standing, sitting or lying down. A neutral spine occurs when your spine and its three primary curves are naturally aligned. In this position, the body is adequately supported and has minimal strain.
To achieve a neutral spine while standing, place your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Ensure your weight is on the balls of your feet and then stand up straight. Pull your shoulders back, bring your stomach in, and then allow your arms to hang naturally.
Keep your head level with your shoulders at all times. If you need to stand for a lengthy period, shift your weight from one foot to the other, or from your heels to toes.
You may need to modify your environment to maintain good posture while sitting. Keep your feet flat on the floor with knees at or below your hips, and you may need to lower your chair or use a footstool to achieve this position. Also, your chair needs to support your lower and mid-back at all times.
Your arms should always be parallel with the ground, and your shoulders should stay relaxed at all times. If you are sitting for long periods, take regular breaks to stand and move your body.
Proper posture while lying down starts with the right mattress. Your mattress should be comfortable for your body, and you should rest your head on a pillow. For many people, a firm mattress helps achieve optimal comfort, but that’s not true for everyone. Choose the mattress that’s best for you and try to sleep on your back or side, using pillows for support.
A pillow between the legs is beneficial for side-sleepers, while a pillow under the knees can help people who sleep on their backs. Don’t sleep on your stomach if at all possible.
Relax The Back Supports Proper Posture
Relax The Back is committed to helping you develop the posture you deserve. Whether you’re at home, work or on-the-go, we have a variety of products that can help you correct your posture and make the most of your life.
Our spinal health products help you align your back 24/7, which can reduce pain and improve your mobility.
Here are a few of our most popular ergonomic back solutions for a variety of situations:
At Work: Ergonomic Office Chair
Far too many people experience back and neck pain by the end of a workday, and do nothing about it. Neck and back pain after work is not okay and is typically caused by hunching or slouching while at a computer or table. If your posture is causing you pain, it’s time to do something about it.
We have a variety of fully supportive chairs for the office. Our chairs help you maintain good posture with a neutral spine while supporting your neck, back and arms. Ergonomic office chairs allow you to sit with an upright posture, without putting pressure on your spine, eliminating your posture-related pain.
On-The-Go: Cushions and Travel Supports
Extended travel in a car or plane can wreak havoc on your body. If you find yourself traveling regularly, it’s worth investing in a quality supportive cushion.
Our back cushions support your spine and help keep your body in its proper alignment and minimize slouching or hunching that’s common during travel.
Sleep: Tempur-Pedic Mattresses
You spend a significant amount of time in your bed, which makes it a critical component to maintaining good posture and spinal health.
If you experience back or neck pain, consider upgrading to a mattress that will better support your body, spine, and overall health. Our Tempur-Pedic Mattresses are specially designed to help you make the most of your sleep.
At Home: Zero Gravity Chairs & Recliners
Relax better with zero gravity chairs and recliners. Our selection of high-performance relaxation chairs allows you to enjoy your R&R time without compromising your health. The right chair cradles your body in proper alignment, allowing you to relax more deeply into the comfortable support of your recliner.
Ready to improve your posture? Shop online or visit a Relax The Back location near you to talk with one of our spine health experts. We will tailor a solution that will help you improve your posture and spinal health.