“Stand up straight” or “stop slouching” are two refrains that echo from childhood. Whether a parent figure, teacher, or another caretaker, chances are that you’ve been called out for bad posture. Turns out, these individuals trying to prevent you from slumping were onto something. In fact, good posture can deliver a whole host of benefits.
Proper Body Alignment
Good body mechanics can prevent excess strain on your muscles and joints. This might not seem like a big deal but if you extrapolate out your daily actions into year-long habits, correct posture is a key part of allowing your body to feel good and perform to the best of its ability. Here’s how to tell what your resting posture is and if you have room for improvement:
Stand up against a wall with the back of your head, butt, and shoulder area touching the wall. Your heels should be approximately 4 inches from the wall and you should be able to slide a hand between your lower back and the wall along the curve of your back. Now, when you slide a hand in there, if there’s too much space, draw in your belly button to reduce the space and find the proper alignment. Conversely, if there’s too little space, add an arch into your back to fit your hand.
Impacts of Poor Posture
Bad posture hurts. It is attributed to headaches (both tension and muscle-spasm), back and neck pain in addition to muscle weakness, lack of flexibility, poor alignment of hips and other issues in the knees, hips, or feet.
How to Counter
If you sit at a desk and slump your shoulders typing at a keyboard, then you really need to get into a routine that helps counter the position your work in. Regular activity including rolling out your muscles with a foam roller, seeking out massage sessions, and actively correcting your posture is a great start!