How to improve your posture
Posture is one of those topics that you may be concerned about but never quite get around to doing anything about it. It’s maybe more important then ever now as many of us are working from home and in different routines, and spending long hours in a kitchen chair that was not designed for such length of time.
Here’s how you can slightly alter your day to day movements to ensure a better long-term posture…
How to correct your posture when sitting –
Your spine is a column of bones sitting one on top of the other, keeping that as straight as possible will ensure the least amount of strain on the muscles that hold them together and in place.
Finding the right chair:
Part of a healthy office is chairs and desks that are ergonomically designed to help people to be better supported whilst doing repetitive activities like typing or clicking on a computer screen. In an office the daily routine would normally include many interruptions and trips away from your desk to get coffee, go to the bathroom, see other people, get supplies or printouts. All of these activities are positive from a body and posture point of view as they act as mini exercises and stop the muscles getting strained from being in one position too long, getting up and moving also gets the blood pumping around your body which is also a good thing.
If possible, it’s best to find a chair that allows you to sit with you back at a 90 degree angle to your thighs and then your lower legs at another 90 degree angle from that. That also means holding your head up straight so that you are looking at the computer screen (or workstation) directly ahead of you (and not needing to strain your neck looking up or down at a screen).
Make sure you can comfortably sit with your feet flat on the ground whilst you work, you might need a cushion in order to find the right height as kitchen chairs are often not adjustable. Once you have found a chair that supports this posture try and use it regularly to help your better posture to become the norm.
Tip: To help continue the good practice, you can adjust your car seat to also be more upright, so your body gets used to the positioning.
How to correct your posture when walking and standing –
Your body shape:
Try and adjust your head and shoulders, such that the back of your head is in line with your back (i.e 90 degrees to the floor) and to support your head in this position pull your shoulders back a little and relax them. Practice standing like this for a while to get used to the feel.
Tip: Stand against a wall and feel what shape your body makes when your bottom, shoulders and head are all touching the flat wall. Replicate this feeling when you walk around.
As you walk around make sure you are holding your head up and back straight – imagine you are balancing a book on your head (you can try it with an actual book on your head too).
Good shoes are important to support your feet, and the arch in your foot, without forcing any unnatural angles – like how high heels often do (if you do have to wear high heels then make sure to take regular breaks from them and try not to wear them for long periods).
Good posture doesn’t happen overnight and it might feel a bit of a strain, having to remember to practise a straight back and relaxed shoulders and head held high, but over time it will feel more natural and hopefully the stresses and strains on your body will lessen.
What to remember about posture:
1. For sitting – back and legs at 90 degree angles and head held up looking directly at workstation.
2. For walking – back straight, head held high, shoulders back and relaxed.
3. Don’t stay in any one posture too long, lots of small movements are better for the body.
4. Relax your posture into the directions above, and relax your breathing, it will all help.
5. It should become a way of life, it may take weeks before a new improved posture feels normal but preserve.