12 Dec 2022

How to Improve Posture

By Charles Herbert
person stretching back

How to Improve Your Posture

If you’ve sat at the same uncomfortable desk for years or frequently suffer from aches and pains, you’re probably wondering whether it’s too late to work on your posture. The good news is – it’s not! – and there are plenty of ways to improve your posture and live more comfortably. Proper posture helps to keep your bones and joints in alignment, meaning you stand up taller and have less chance of putting strain on your muscles or back. 

We’ve included everything you need to know in this handy guide, from ‘what is posture’ to bad posture symptoms and exercises to encourage good posture.

What is posture?

Your posture is the way you hold your body! Dynamic posture refers to the position your body is in when moving, for example running, walking or bending down. Static posture is how you hold yourself when stationary, for example standing, sitting or lying down to sleep. 

“Bad posture can cause health issues over time”

It’s important to be mindful of your posture, as poor posture can lead to a range of health complications, including back, shoulder and neck pain, poor circulation and curvature of the spine. By contrast, good posture has a range of benefits, such as increased energy, reduced risk of injury and fewer headaches. 

What does good posture look like?

Good posture puts the least amount of stress on your muscles, ligaments and tendons, reducing the chances of injury. It isn’t just about standing tall either, good posture also helps you to develop strength, balance and flexibility in the body.

To maintain a good standing posture, stand up with a straight, tall spine with your shoulders back. Imagine an invisible thread pulling you up from the top of your head, so that your head is in line with your body, abdomen is pulled in and feet are hip distance apart. Try to keep your weight evenly distributed between both feet, with straight legs and relaxed knees.

For good sitting posture, keep the back straight and shoulders back. Ensure your weight is distributed evenly on both hips, with feet flat on the floor. Try to keep the height of your knees in line with your hips (use a footrest if needed) and avoid crossing your legs!  

Bad posture symptoms

Many of us fall into poor posture habits when sitting or standing, especially if you spend long periods of time in one position. Slouching in a chair, leaning your weight on one leg, or hunching over a mobile phone are all examples of bad posture, but they may not even feel uncomfortable if they’ve become a habit. 

However, bad posture can cause health issues over time and you may notice symptoms like:

  • Rounded shoulders
  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Poor digestion
  • Low energy
  • Constricted nerves

Some symptoms, like back pain, are unlikely to go away by correcting your posture alone (there is usually another underlying cause). However, improving your posture will help to relieve the stress and strain on your muscles, which will still help to reduce bad posture symptoms. 

How to improve your posture 

Correcting your posture might feel awkward, or even uncomfortable at first, as the body will have got used to sitting or standing in a certain way. However, it’s not too late to make a change, and the more you practice and become aware of your posture, the easier it will be to maintain. If you’re looking for some easy, everyday ways to start improving your posture, see below for our top tips!

  • Stand up tall – Stating the obvious, yes, but standing up tall is one of the quickest and most effective ways to improve posture! Start by becoming aware of when you’re slouching or hunching forward, and take a moment to lift the head, pull the shoulders back and keep hips in line with your knees. 
  • Don’t slump at your desk – It might feel comfortable to hunch over your desk or slouch in your chair, but it isn’t good for your posture! Start by sitting with your back flat against the back of the chair, with feet flat on the floor and your hips and knees at an even height. If your desk or office chair is at the wrong height (or simply not comfortable) consider asking your workplace to invest in some new equipment. Many companies have a fund set aside for this exact purpose and you can’t put a price on your health.
  • Be mindful of ‘tech neck’ – The average person spends 3 hours and 15 minutes looking at their phone every day. Our smart devices may have become a staple in almost every aspect of our lives, but looking down at a screen all day puts a serious strain on your spine. Take regular breaks to stretch your neck and try to avoid tilting your head down to look at your phone or tablet – raise it up to hold it at eye level instead. 
  • Get the right mattress – A soft mattress might be nice to sink into at the end of a long day, but if you want to improve your posture, you need a firm mattress that will support the spine. The right level of firmness will depend on several factors, including your sleeping position, any existing injuries or conditions, and your general comfort level. 
  • Wear heels sparingly – Wearing high heels causes the pelvis to tilt forward, which accentuates the curve in the lower back. This changes the alignment of your spine, putting extra pressure on the nerves which makes back pain more likely. Save heels for special occasions, or look for a lower, chunkier heel with more ankle support. 
  • See a chiropractor – Poor posture is often due to misalignment of the spine, but a visit to a chiropractor can help! Chiropractic adjustments work to put your joints back in alignment so you can stand up tall. 
  • Strengthening exercises – A strong core helps to support your spine and put less stress on your back. You can build core strength with exercises like yoga, pilates, squats, pull ups and planking. If you’re new to working out, don’t worry, start with gentle stretches or exercises like tai chi, to build strength, balance and flexibility. 

Can a chiropractor help with posture? 

Yes! Making an appointment with a chiropractor is a great place to start if you want to improve your posture, relieve any stubborn aches and pains, and enjoy overall easier movement. Chiropractic adjustments release any pressure on your nerves and muscles, as well as ensuring your spinal joints are aligned correctly. 

A properly aligned spine means it’s easier to stand up straight and tall, which is great news for your posture! You’re also likely to see a range of further benefits, including more energy, better sleep, reduced chance of injury and improved flexibility. 

Read our blog on how to relieve and prevent neck pain at home to improve your spinal health further.

Book a consultation at Kasa Chiropractic today

If you’re looking to improve your posture by visiting a chiropractor in Bristol, get in touch with the team at Kasa Chiropractic today! To make an appointment with one of our skilled practitioners, or to manage an existing appointment, click here to use our online booking system. We look forward to welcoming you to our Southville or Clifton chiropractic clinic very soon!

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