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Good Posture Tips for a Healthy Spine

Proper posture keeps your bones and joints in alignment. This lowers the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces, relieves stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, and helps your muscles to operate more efficiently. Good posture can also assist in avoiding muscle strain, overuse diseases, and back and muscle discomfort.

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Posture

It is more than just standing up straight to look your best. It is crucial to your long-term health. Making sure you hold your body correctly, whether you're moving or not, can help you avoid discomfort, injuries, and other health concerns.

Posture is how you hold your body. There are two types:

  • Dynamic posture is how you hold yourself when you are moving, like when you are walking, running, or bending over to pick up something.

  • Static posture is how you hold yourself when you are not moving, like when you are sitting, standing, or sleeping.

A healthy back has three natural curves:

  • An inward or forward curve at the neck (cervical curve)

  • An outward or backward curve at the upper back (thoracic curve)

  • An inward curve at the lower back (lumbar curve)

Good posture helps maintain these natural curves, while poor posture does the opposite — which can stress muscles, ligaments, or bones.



Good Posture while walking

Walking is one of the safest and least expensive methods to exercise and improve your health. But, walking posture is also very important! Every step you take engages many muscle groups in your body, potentially resulting in additional tension and undesirable posture patterns. Here are some pointers to help you get started on a stronger stride!

  • Head up: Keep your head elongated as if a string is gently pulling it upward. This will ensure your neck is in alignment and help keep you moving at a brisk pace.

  • Eyes forward: Keep your eye on the horizon ahead to help you stand taller, and also prevent stress on your shoulders and neck.

  • Chest up and shoulders down: Keeping the chest up can help prevent hunching and slouching. Keeping the shoulders down will help you avoid upper back and neck tension.

  • Keep your tummy tight: Focus on tightening your abs. That will help support proper alignment as well as take pressure off your back.

  • Bend your arms: Keeping your arms at your sides can actually slow you down when walking. By bending your arms and letting them swing back and forth in opposite leg motions as you walk, you are not only getting more speed, but you are also keeping the natural posture.

  • Stride forward: Aim to keep a neutral pelvis and avoid tucking your tailbone while walking. Also, keep the knees and toes pointed forward and the front leg straight but not locked for a smooth stride forward. Making sure that you are naturally propelling forward will help prevent injury.

  • Focus on feet: As you walk, focus on heel-to-toe walking. This means pushing off from your heel and rolling through the toe as you step forward. This action will carry you farther and faster.


Good Posture While Standing

Developing and maintaining good posture requires paying attention to how the head, shoulders, back, and hips are held. The key is to maintain a neutral posture and not a stiff one, so it is important to know how to straighten your back.

  • Stand up straight and tall

  • Keep your shoulders back

  • Pull your stomach in

  • Put your weight mostly on the balls of your feet

  • Keep your head level

  • Let your arms hang down naturally at your sides

  • Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart


Good Posture While Handling Weights

The greater the size and weight of your load/luggage, the greater the danger of neck, back, and shoulder ailments. Lifting and lugging heavy bags can cause bone, muscle, and joint pain.

  • Always be sure to bend at the hips–not the low back. The most important tip is to bend the hips and keep the upper body upright as much as possible, pointing forward.

  • When the chest is kept forward and the body is bent at the hips, the back is kept straight and back injury can be avoided

  • The shoulders should be kept in line with the hips to avoid twisting. For changing directions, move the hips first so the shoulders will move in unison.

  • Half kneeling is a good way to lift awkward items off the ground

  • Do not rush when lifting or carrying a suitcase. If it is too cumbersome, get help.

  • Do not carry bulky luggage for long periods of time.

  • When using a backpack, make sure it has two padded and adjustable shoulder straps to equally balance the weight. Choose a backpack with several compartments to secure various-sized items, packing the heavier things low and towards the center. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder does not allow weight to be distributed evenly. This can cause muscle strain.

  • When using a duffel or shoulder bag, do not carry it on one shoulder for any length of time. Be sure to switch sides often.

  • Do not drag rolling luggage when climbing stairs–carry it instead.


Good Posture While Working On The Desk

  • Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or on a footrest.

  • Keep your knees at or below the level of your hips. Don't cross your legs. Your ankles should be in front of your knees. Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.

  • Adjust your chair to support your back or place a rolled towel or small pillow behind your lower back.

  • Make sure the top of your monitor is at or slightly below eye level.

  • Keep your head and neck balanced and in line with your torso.

  • Relax your shoulders. Keep your forearms parallel to the ground.

  • Try not to sit in the same position for long periods.

Good posture is about more than standing up straight so you can look your best. It is an important part of your long-term health. Making sure that you hold your body the right way, whether you are moving or still, can prevent pain, injuries, and other health problems.


(Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment.)




References

  1. Spine basics. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/spine-basics/. Accessed Jan. 30, 2019.

  2. Computer workstations etool. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. https://www.osha.gov/etools/computer-workstations. Accessed May 20, 2021.

  3. Maintaining good posture. American Chiropractic Association. https://acatoday.org/content/posture-power-how-to-correct-your-body-alignment. Accessed Jan. 28, 2019.

  4. Tips for Lifting and Carrying Luggage. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/

  5. Guide to Good Posture. https://medlineplus.gov/


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