With the rapid modernization of our world, we find ourselves slouching more and more.
For you, that could manifest itself in the form of watching hours of Youtube on your phone every week. For another person, it might be the long driving to and from work every day.
Whatever the case might be, the result is identical:
Hunching forward for extended periods takes its toll on our joints and muscles. To make matters worse, maintaining a poor posture for hours becomes a habit, and our posture remains that way, even when we are doing something active.
To prevent the downsides of poor posture, we need to take measures into our own hands. Here are four great habits you can start working on for better posture in the long run.
1. Make a Conscious Effort
Working on a better posture starts with making a conscious effort. The truth is, many habits can improve your posture. But, it comes down to you to make an effort over and over each day.
For example, as you're standing in line or walking somewhere, ask yourself, "Is my posture okay right now? Am I slouching forward?"
Then, make an effort to improve your posture: shoulders back, chest up, neck in line with your torso, and gaze forward.
2. Practice Good Sitting Posture
Say that you work at a desk, and your average workday is eight hours long. Take one hour off for your lunch break, and you still have seven hours at your desk. In a week, that comes up to 35 hours. In a year, that number jumps to over 1,700 hours, even if we account for two weeks of vacation.
Whether we realize it or not, our sitting posture can significantly impact our well-being. So, it's essential to practice good posture while sitting:
• Shoulders back
• Neck in a neutral position
• Arms to your sides and bent at the elbows
• The screen at (or slightly below) eye level
• Thighs parallel to the floor
3. Break Up Sitting Time With Regular Intervals of Activity
Being sedentary for long periods poses some serious health risks. For example, research suggests that it increases the risk of becoming overweight and suffering from heart problems down the line.
Another health risk is poor posture. Whether we realize it or not, immobility is among the most significant contributors to poor posture. To prevent these adverse effects, we must break up sitting time with regular intervals of activity.
For example, you can set a reminder on your phone to go off every 30 to 45 minutes. Once you hear it, get up, walk around for a bit, do some static stretches, and sit down again.
This is also beneficial because it gives you consistent reminders to check your sitting posture and improve it if you need to.
4. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is incredibly beneficial for our health, well-being, and outlook on life. Besides that, it can help drastically improve our posture.
To make it more effective, we also need to focus on the muscles in the posterior chain: our hamstrings, glutes, lower back, rhomboids, lats, trapezius, shoulders, and neck musculature.
Good exercises include rowing and pulling movements in the gym, such as pulldowns and face pulls, deadlifts, and similar. In doing so, the back's often-neglected muscles become stronger and better able to keep the body's posture.
5. Stretch Regularly
Our at home personal trainer and professional dancer Sophie has put together a list of her top stretches for your upper back, they include:
- Child PoseCat Cow
- Upper Back Stretch
- Wall Assisted Shoulder Stretch
- Saddle Side Stretch
Watch her video to follow along: