What Experts Want You to Know About Good Posture
If you have a desk job, you know what it feels like to stand up after working for a long period of time, grimacing and immediately reaching for your low back or neck, trying to rub out the inevitable kinks. Maybe you sit at home with a heat pack after a long day or climb into the bathtub for some relief.
What you likely didn't realize is that those persistent headaches or nagging aches in your low back could be contributed to poor posture. Luckily, we have a few solutions for you that can help you feel renewed and energized to take on your day.
Good posture exercises, nutrition, and mindfulness are key to promoting better posture and reducing your aches, pains, or discomforts. Ready to get started?
In our complete guide, we will go over the importance of good back posture and how a few small changes can make a world of difference, so keep reading on for more information!
What Is a Good Posture?
Posture is your body's alignment. There are two primary types: static and dynamic. When you are standing still, sleeping, or sitting at a desk, you are in a static posture. Walking, running, or even transitioning from sitting to standing are simple types of dynamic posture.
When performing these movements, you can ask, "where is my head in conjunction with my shoulders and hips?" This question will help you become more mindful of good posture.
A good posture is one where your spine is fairly neutral, and you have a reduced load on your muscles and joints. If you took an imaginary string or line, you could draw a straight shot from your ear canal to your hip, with your rib cage right in the middle.
What Contributes to a Good Posture?
Your muscles and anatomical structure are the two main contributors to your posture. It is entirely possible that you could have some congenital spinal issues that predispose you to scoliosis or other improper posture alignments.
Unfortunately, a good posture is harder to come by than people may think. Often, people gravitate toward one side, such as slinging a purse or a backpack over one shoulder. You may favor your strong arm for physically demanding tasks, placing more strain on unilateral muscle groups.
How you sleep or sit could also contribute to poor posture. All these simple, everyday tasks can add or reduce strain on muscles and bones, shaping how your spine and major muscle groups support your body. Some of the best ways to start aiming for good posture are exercise, proper nutrition, and mindfulness.
1. Good Posture Exercises
Postural exercises are critical to strengthening weak muscle groups or fixing muscle imbalances. Over-active or under-active muscle groups can negatively affect your static and dynamic posture, leading to pain or discomfort. Exercise can improve your neuromotor connections between muscle groups, improving postural alignment and, ultimately, reducing discomfort.
Here are a few simple exercises to get you started:
- Child's Pose
- Plank/side plank
- Downward-Facing Dog
- Single leg extension
- Scapular retraction
- Mountain Pose
You'll notice a few things from this list. First, many of these exercises have a strong relationship to yoga or pilates.
Yoga is an excellent way to improve your core strength and posture. It also emphasizes several stretches, which are equally important if you want a better posture.
For example, focus on stretching your hip flexors and pectoral muscles if you sit slouched at a desk all day. In return, you can target your glutes and upper back muscles to draw your shoulder blades back and sit taller.
2. Proper Nutrition
Common medical conditions like osteoporosis can weaken bones and predispose you to poor posture. Vitamin D is one of the best supplements and vitamins you should incorporate into your diet. It can build help you build strong bones and allows your body to absorb calcium more efficiently.
The best way to get vitamin D is through the sun. Yet, this poses some risks, such as skin cancer or burns.
The next best option is a quality supplement. However, while many people might peruse the grocery store aisle for vitamin D, don't neglect other beneficial vitamins.
Vitamin K2 helps with calcium utilization and contributes to your overall health, including bone health and posture. Combining these two compounds promotes essential bone growth and repair to avoid long-lasting postural complications.
3. Implementing Mindfulness
Mindfulness goes hand-in-hand with exercises. Ideally, if you notice pain and discomfort in your head, neck, shoulders, back, or hips, you should structure some form of exercise and stretching in your daily regimen.
The other critical component is being aware of how you sit, stand, or lay. When you stand, try and gently draw your shoulders back and focus on tightening your core.
For good sitting posture, keep both feet flat with your head and eyes up. Resist the urge to hunch or round your shoulders.
Lastly, good sleeping posture can be a bit more challenging since you don't always have control of how you move throughout the night. What you can do is grab a pillow and place it between your knees.
This reduces the strain on your low back if you are a side sleeper. You could also try sleeping on your back and only using one pillow to reduce pressure on your neck.
Why Should You Improve Your Posture?
Improving your posture can reduce many long-term health risks and injuries, such as headaches, muscle pain, or joint discomfort. It can help you breathe easier and improve your self-esteem and mood.
Good posture exercises can strengthen various muscle groups and give you back your confidence. Coupled with exercises, finding high-quality supplements can be a gamechanger in your overall health, including reducing your risk for osteoporosis.
For help finding quality supplements, check out the rest of our site for more information!
Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.
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The information, knowledge, and experience shared on this website is the opinion of SupplementRelief.com. This site and its content is intended to enhance your knowledge base as YOU MAKE YOUR OWN HEALTHCARE DECISIONS in partnership with your qualified health professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products referred to are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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