Improve Your Posture With These 3 Easy Steps

How can improving your posture help relieve your pain?

Maintaining proper alignment throughout your body can help relieve common health issues including neck pain, back pain, headaches, and fatigue. How do you ensure that your body is aligned? That’s easy: improve your posture.

What Is Proper Posture

Before you can improve your posture, you must first know what proper posture involves. When you’re standing, your back should be straight, your shoulders should be squared, chin up, chest out, stomach in, with your feet facing forward and your knees and hips in a neutral position. Your spine also has two natural curves that need to be maintained for proper posture: the lordotic, or double C curves located in your lumbar spine, and the kyphotic, or S curves, located in your thoracic spine. These curves begin at the base of your head to your shoulders and curve from your upper back to the base of your spine. If the weight of your body is distributed unevenly, these curves can increase into unnatural positions, resulting in pain and other conditions.

How To Improve Your Posture

Use A Mirror

Stand facing a mirror with your feet shoulder width apart. Stand up straight so that your shoulders are squared and your head is aligned with the top of your neck and spine. Hold your weight on the balls of your feet. If you rest on your heels, your body will naturally begin to slouch. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet and the rest of your body will align. As you look in the mirror, you should be able to picture drawing a straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, and knee, to the middle of your ankle.

Use A Wall

Training your body to recognize what proper posture feels like is an important part of aligning your body. Stand with your back against a wall or door with the back of your head, shoulders, and your butt touching the surface of the wall. This position may feel uncomfortable at first, but once you train your muscles to recognize proper posture it will be uncomfortable not to stand like this!

Get Moving

Staying active will help build the muscles that control alignment in your body. Here are few ways you can move towards better posture.

Stretches

Stretches can be used to reduce back and neck pain, and relieve stiffness after sitting for long periods of time at work.

The Neck Stretch: Try tilting your head to the right, left, front and back while massaging the muscles in your neck. This will strengthen the muscles in your neck and relieve tension. Avoid moving your neck in circles, this may actually result in more pain. Instead, just gently tilt your head in each direction.

Core exercises

They don’t call it your “core” for no reason. Your core is the foundation of almost all of your body’s movements and can significantly influence your balance, posture and overall physical health.

The plank: Lie down on your stomach with your elbows and forearms flat on the floor. Curl your toes under and lift your body so that you’re balancing on your feet and arms. If you’re not sure you can balance on your arms and feet, you can leave your knees on the ground.

If you are able to balance, squeeze your abdominal muscles towards your spine, and spread your shoulder blades across your back. Hold for as long as you can, but try to work up to holding the position for one full minute.

Yoga

Yoga can help you improve your posture by strengthening your core muscles and balance.

The cat and camel pose: Begin on the ground with your hands and knees on the floor. Position your knees so that they’re underneath your hips and move your wrists directly under your shoulders with your fingers pointing forward. Gently exhale as you round your back up towards the ceiling until you resemble a cat. This will stretch your upper, lower and middle back. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds then gently move into the camel pose by pressing your stomach towards the ground, arching your back and pushing your buttocks towards the ceiling. Hold this position for another 10 to 15 seconds; then, lower back down to the starting position. Repeat two to three more times.

What stretches do you use to relieve pain? Have you ever tried doing yoga? Tell us in the comments!