On average, Americans sit 13 hours a day. This is in addition to the seven or eight hours spent in bed, contributing greatly to sedentary lifestyles and health risks. But did you know it also affects posture? When it comes to good health, the importance of posture cannot be underestimated. In fact, poor posture is linked to several health problems encompassing everything from our musculoskeletal system to our emotional health. The question is how do we improve posture so that we can be our healthiest selves? Thankfully, several good practices, as well as innovative devices, exist to help us improve posture regardless of our situation. The following offers some insights into how to improve posture.
The First Step: Defining Good Posture
Before discussing the importance of posture, it helps to understand the meaning of good posture. Generally, sitting or standing up straight is associated with good posture, but there’s more to it than that. In essence, good posture also involves balance, evenness, and weight distribution. And it also acknowledges the normal curves in our spines without exaggerating their appearance.
A starting point to improve posture involves simply looking at yourself in a mirror. Your chin should be parallel to the ground, and your shoulders should be even below your ears. Likewise, arms should be at your side with elbows straight, and your hips should also be even with knees forward. Now check your balance and weight. Both feet should equally share the burden of your weight, and your shoulders should be aligned with your hips. These quick “checks” can help you envision how to improve posture.
The Importance of Posture in the Pursuit of Holistic Health
Poor posture is common, and as a result, many suffer health consequences from it. First of all, poor posture can cause poor balance. Not only is balance important for many routine activities, but it is essential for exercise and athletic performance. Good balance also helps prevent injury. The importance of posture in promoting a confident attitude and positive outlook cannot be understated, either. And proper alignment of your body’s position aids circulation, digestion, and breathing. As you can see, the importance of posture extends well beyond muscle and joint health.
Of course, there are reasons why many suffer from poor posture. Sedentary activity and sitting at a desk all day doesn’t help. However, having weak core muscles can also contribute to a slouched posture, as does depression and stress. Likewise, obesity can cause posture problems in the lower back area. And failure to actively stretch and exercise can result in tightening of muscles and ligaments, resulting in… you guessed it: poor posture. Therefore, knowing how to improve posture involves also knowing what poor posture risks you already have.
Innovative Ways to Improve Posture
Pursuing good posture starts with knowing how to improve it in everyday activities. By simply knowing what defines good posture, you can periodically check your alignment, balance, and evenness throughout the day. Likewise, routine exercise, proper weight management, and regular stretching can also help greatly. Keeping your core muscles healthy and strong while reducing tightness and inflexibility is certainly important. As these activities become habit, the importance of posture in the way you feel and function will become evident.
In addition to these strategies, several innovative technologies and devices exist that can help. Shoulder braces, back braces, and support bras all offer ways to promote better posture. But recently, a number of wearable and non-wearable electronics have hit the market. For example, there are devices that can attach to your upper back and vibrate when your posture is not ideal. Similar technology is available in bras, insoles, and even yoga pants! And some posture devices have been incorporated into seat cushions to help you with seated posture at work. Most of these communicate with you through smartphone apps and/or direct vibration signals.
The Importance of Posture Is Greater Than You Thought
When considering holistic health, posture affects not only your physical well-being but also your mental and emotional health. Unfortunately, the more we work on electronic devices while seated, the more likely we are to have poor posture habits. Therefore, appreciating the importance of posture and how to improve posture are important factors in the pursuit of wellness. By developing better posture routines, and by employing new posture technology and devices, your posture can improve. And ultimately, this will lead to a healthier you.