Sit up straight. Don’t slouch. Straighten up. Most of us have been given this advice our entire lives. But why does it matter so much? Good posture helps keep our bodies in alignment, so our muscles and ligaments work together as they should without putting extra strain on them. That extra strain can lead to back pain, arthritic pain, muscle fatigue and injuries.
The first step to improving your posture is being aware of bad habits and working to correct them. Changing habits isn’t easy, so if your trouble spots feel overwhelming, try tackling them one at a time. These tips can help.
Have a Seat
1. Leg crossers are a loyal bunch. But good posture means keeping both feet on the floor when you’re sitting down. Your ankles should be out in front of your knees, at or below the level of your hips. Use a footrest or stool if you need to.
2. Keep your weight evenly distributed across both hips, instead of favoring one of them.
3. Use armrests to keep your forearms parallel to the ground.
4. If your shoulders start to tense up (literally), relax them.
5. Get up and move around periodically so you’re not sitting in the same position for extended periods of time.
Stand Up for Yourself
1. Focus on where you’re bearing your weight. Weight should be evenly distributed through out the feet.
2. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart and slightly bent.
3. Keep your arms loosely and naturally at your sides.
4. Mind your shoulders. They should be pulled back, not slumped forward. Check them periodically in a mirror until you get a good feel.
5. Pull in your abdomen.
6. Be levelheaded. Your earlobes should be parallel to your shoulders. If they aren’t, your head is too far forward, backwards or sideways.
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