Perfect your posture with these five simple tricks and tips

Standing straight can be a tall order, but it doesn't have to be a pain. In fact, good posture can be a cure all for back and neck pain. Here are five tips from TAG24 to straighten up your spine.

How your work space is set up is key when it comes to trying to ward off neck and back pain.
How your work space is set up is key when it comes to trying to ward off neck and back pain.  © 123rf/ kitzcorner

Good posture isn't just something to strive for because it makes you look excellent. It has major health benefits.

Experts agree that good posture receives pressure on joints, prevents muscle strain, and can even reduce back pain.

This isn't something you can achieve at the drop of a hat – it's an everyday activity to learn and improve in.

But here's the good news: you don't have to dedicate 30 minutes every day to working out to stand up a little straighter.

Anyone can improve their posture anywhere, anytime: on the couch, at your desk, during your work-out, while you're surfing the web, and on the go.

By incorporating good posture habits into your daily routine and by taking your work space to the next level, standing a little taller can be simple. Here are five tips to get you started.

1. Make your workspace posture friendly

Try to work on your posture while working.
Try to work on your posture while working.  © 123rf/ endomedion

As most of us spend our days sitting, it's how you end up doing it that counts.

Sitting ergonomics is all about 90 degree angles.

  • Make sure that your work space allows you to keep your elbows at a less than 90-degree angles and your wrists in a neutral position.
  • Your knees should be in line with your hips and flow to the floor, creating a nice right angle.
  • Your ankles should be in line with your knees. Whatever you sit on, be it a stool, or an exercise ball, make it easy to maintain an angle of 90 degrees or fewer relative to your hips.

Angles are also important when it comes to screens. Hunching over to see your computer screen is no good, so eye level is best.

If you can make these angles work for your sitting posture and thus standing posture should improve.

2. Pay attention to what posture you're doomscrolling in

Changing how you hold your phone can make a big difference when it comes to neck pain.
Changing how you hold your phone can make a big difference when it comes to neck pain.  © 123rf/ kokimk

If you're reading this on your phone, take a second and consider the position of your neck. Are you craning over your phone? Is your neck bowed?

If it is, you're not alone.

This kind of poor posture can become a real pain in the neck. Physical therapists and doctors refer to it as text neck. It results from craning your neck forward for long periods of time and looking down, like when texting, reading, or scrolling on your smartphone.

When you lean forward, you are putting more strain on your neck. Your head is actually heavier than you think – between 5 and eleven pounds – so when you lean forward, all that weight is thrown forward.

But there's a simple fix: change how you scroll.

Hold your phone up to eye level or consider using a phone holder at eye level to keep the pain away while you're scrolling away.

3. Periodic stretching to improve posture

Another easy stretch is reaching your arms out wide to release tension in your chest muscles.
Another easy stretch is reaching your arms out wide to release tension in your chest muscles.  © 123rf/ howtogoto

Taking time to stretch works wonders.

Periodic stretching is the way to go. Focus on your neck and shoulders, which are probably tight from computer work or scrolling.

Take a few minutes to move your body differently:

  • At work or in class after you finish something, instead of jumping to the next task, roll your shoulders. Bring your shoulders up to your ears, roll them down and back, forward, then up, and repeat.
  • Consider combating text neck by doing a silly stretch, that might make you feel like a turtle. Let your arms fall to your sides and side your head back to give yourself a double chin. Hold for a few seconds and release.

Doing little stretches that feel good can make big posture improvements. These breaks might even improve your ability to focus.

4. Targeted strengthening exercises make good posture easier

The stronger the muscles that you need for good posture are, the easier it is to strike and hold that perfect posture pose.

The muscles you need to focus on for good posture include:

  • abdominals,
  • rhomboids,
  • and trapezius muscles.

There are of course others that would benefit from a workout, like your glutes. But these are the basics. You can work on these from anywhere, even in your favorite chair.

For example, to strengthen your rhomboids and traps, just squeeze your shoulder blades together as hard as you can, hold for the count of five, and repeat.

You can do the same with thing to strengthen your abs, just tense hold and repeat.

5. Use reminders to check on your posture and improve

Use a sticky tab to remind yourself to sit or stand up straight.
Use a sticky tab to remind yourself to sit or stand up straight.  © 123rf/prathanchorruangsak

Going to the gym is great, but no one spends the majority of their waking hours working out.

Good posture is created in your daily activities, so remind yourself that you should keep your ears away from your shoulders and your head from hanging over your phone.

There are tons of ways to set reminders on your phone. But you could also go old-fashioned and put a sticky tab above your screen that says "Shoulders down" or asks, "Are you slouching?"

These constant reminders will help you perfect your posture. Because every time you correct your posture, you are strengthening the muscles that make good posture easy and natural.

The bottom line when it comes to perfect posture is the more often you think about it, the closer you will get to achieving it.

Cover photo: 123rf/ kitzcorner

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