We all know that poor posture is a major contributor to back pain, but there are a host of other issues caused by slouching including neck and shoulder pain, poor circulation, chronic fatigue syndrome, and even herniated discs. So what can you do to improve posture and hopefully, prevent any of these diagnoses in the future?
1. Learn what perfect posture looks and feels like.
Before you can really improve your posture, you need to know what it is that you're trying to achieve. Stand facing a mirror with your abdominal muscles tightened. Your hip, shoulder, and ear should be in perfect alignment. Relax. Don't arch your back. This is what good posture looks and feels like. Awkward at first, but this is your goal.
A fifteen minute walk during your lunch break while practicing perfect posture will be of great benefit. If you have a desk job then you should stop your work every hour or so. Sit up tall. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Add a few shoulder rolls to release tension in the neck and back, and back to work you go. Remember, exercise strengthens muscles, and muscles make it easier to hold your body erect.
3. Tighten your core.
A strong core means a strong back. A strong back makes it easier to stand straight. Crunches, sit-ups, planks, pilates and yoga are all great exercises for strengthening the core. Don't stress if you don't have hours to spend on this one. Ten to fifteen minutes a day can make marked improvements.
4. Sleep straight.
Sleeping on your back on a firm mattress can actually make it easier for you to sit up straight during your waking hours. Be sure to use only one or two pillows that keep your neck at a comfortable, not sharp, angle. Use strategically placed pillows to keep your spine as straight as possible if you must sleep on your side.
5. Wear good shoes.
Ladies, heels may look nice, but they do nothing for your long-term back health. Whatever shoes you choose, make sure they offer good support.
6. Invest in a Massage Chair.
If you currently experience back, neck, or shoulder pain, a massage could help. Instead of paying for an expensive masseuse, consider buying a massage chair. Massage chairs make daily massage affordable, keep tension at bay, and improve spinal alignment, making perfect posture more easily attainable.
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