This holiday season when you see friends and family stand up taller. Make it a point to have good posture. You will get comments like did you lose weight? Are you taller? Good posture may make you look more confident, more attractive and even more friendly. In our office it is a message we preach to our patients. Poor posture is an epidemic in our society it can lead to pains in the neck, shoulders and back. It is a cumulative result of our lifestyle. Long hours of sitting at a desk, working on the computer, slouching down while using the cell phone, long hours of driving they all contribute to a forward lean and rounded shoulders.
Having good posture means being aware of your posture throughout the day and night while you are sitting, standing, walking, driving, relaxing, sleeping, etc. I have outlined tips to bring awareness and to break bad habits. Share this information with friends and family and let’s keep moving in the right direction with shoulders back and head held high!
When you are standing, imagine that your head is being pulled by a string gently towards the ceiling. When you use visualizing techniques, it can guide your body to stand properly and be more aware of its movements.
Have someone place tape on your back in the shape of an X. During the day, this will help retain your back posture because you will feel the tape pulling if you slouch or bend improperly. Try no to slouch when you walk. Walk like you have a book balancing on your head and you do not want it to drop. This visualization will keep you standing tall.
Pick a color to correlate with your posture. Every time you see that chosen color, you will immediately think of your posture and stand up straight.
If you work at a desk all day, make sure you have a desk chair that is designed for proper support. If this is not readily available to you, try using a small pillow for additional lumbar support.
Make sure your back is aligned with the back of the chair. This will help you avoid slouching or leaning forward when you are not aware of yourself doing it.
If you are looking at a monitor, make sure it is positioned at an upward angle to avoid a slouching position. Always keep both feet on the ground or on a footrest when sitting. Try to take standing breaks every 30 minutes. It is important to stand up and stretch because your body was not designed to sit all day long. Keep your body in motion!
Be sure to use a firm mattress that will help you maintain proper back support. Try sleeping on your back because it will help keep your shoulders straight and is more beneficial than other positions. If you are naturally compelled to sleep on your side, try placing a small flat pillow between your knees. This will help keep your spine aligned properly and is comfortable for sleeping.
Do not sleep with too many pillows under your head. A pillow can be a good support but if you have too much height, this will affect your neck and back and you will wake up feeling stiff and sore.
Keep your head and back against the seat and headrest. This is the proper way for you to sit while driving your car.
Adjust your seat to be sure you are the proper distance away from the steering wheel. If you are leaning forward to drive or find yourself straining your legs, chances are that you are sitting too far away from the steering wheel.
This Holiday Season make a point to have better posture. Shoulders back, head held high and smile should be your mantra this time of year. I know if you do your friends, family, or coworkers are bound to spray you with positive compliments which will make your Holidays even more merry. Have a great and safe Holiday!
Dr. Chris Alvarez