Practicing Good Posture

We’ve all heard the cautions growing up. Our mothers and grandmothers telling us to stand up straight and to stop slouching in our seats. Although as children it seemed annoying, they were right to start us on an early track to good posture. In fact, practicing good posture can be just as important to your health as getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet or exercising regularly. Bad posture can lead to loss of energy, chronic back, joint and muscular pain, headaches, bone and joint misalignment and put you at greater risk for injury. Maintaining good posture allows your muscles and skeleton to work together to minimize the pressure on your joints. When poor posture occurs frequently, the structure of your body can begin to change and adapt to the postural mistakes, leading to the pain and misalignment of your joints. How to Practice Good Posture: While Standing: • Stand up straight! • Keep feet shoulder-width apart. • Keep knees slightly bent. • Put chest out and pull stomach inward. • Keep your shoulders squared. • Align your head with the neck and spine. • Distribute weight evenly on the balls of your feet. While Sitting: • Sit up straight! • Align your back with the back of the chair (use an ergonomically designed chair whenever possible). • Keep your feet on the ground or footrest, with ankles in front of your knees. • Keep your shoulders squared and align your head with the neck, spine and heels. • Stand up and stretch or walk around if sitting for long periods of time. While Lying Down: • Avoid sleeping on your stomach. • If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs. • If you sleep on your back, keep a pillow under your knees. Maintaining a core workout a few days a week is also helpful in strengthening essential posture muscles like your abs, lower back and obliques. Yoga, martial arts, Tai chi and even ballroom dancing are known for promoting proper posture as well. Resources: Mayo Clinic. (2014). Nutrition. Retrieved from www.mayoclinic.org American Chiropractic Association. (2014). Nutrition. Retrieved from www.acatody.org Spine-Health. (2014). Wellness. Retrieved from www.spine-health.com

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