How To Improve Your Posture
Deskbound? Check. Eyes glued to a computer screen for most part of your working hours? Check. Eyes glued to a smartphone screen during your daily commute? Check. Bad posture? Check, check and check.
In today’s digital age, someone rounding their shoulders and looking down at their mobile device on the go is no longer an uncommon sight. According to the 2013 AIA Healthy Living Index, three in four Singaporeans (77 percent) agreed that too much screen time affects their posture. Not only does this forward-leaning posture result in a poor appearance, it is also linked to many health problems such as neck pain, back pain, obesity and constipation. It can even lead to depression – a recent US study found that those who slouched reported feelings of depression and lower energy.
Before we go into ways to beat the slouch, it’s important to identify and define good posture. Keep in mind that good posture is essentially the practice of keeping your body in alignment. Whether you’re standing, sitting or walking, always square your shoulders, keep your back straight, chest out, chin up and stomach in. An excellent method of aligning your body is to stand with your back against the wall, gently pressing the back of your head, shoulder blades and butt against it. This position may feel awkward at first but it will come naturally to you as you improve your posture.
Get Off Your Butt
You shouldn’t take the word “deskbound” literally. Prolonged sitting comes with a big warning sign as it is linked to a whole host of health risks, from obesity to even cardiovascular diseases. Every half an hour or so, get off your seat and do some light stretches or take a walk to loosen your muscles. In fact, especially if you work for yourself or are part of a SME, invest in a standing workstation. It is a great step towards improving your posture and overall health.
Practice Pilates Regularly
“Exercise” your spine through Pilates; it helps improve body alignment as it focuses on strengthening the core muscles (lower back, abdominal and pelvic floor) and trains you to use your core strength in your everyday movement.
Oh, For Vanity’s Sake
Wearing heels may make us feel taller and more confident, but over-wearing them can misalign the body and result in poor posture. Only wear them when absolutely necessary (e.g. when you’re meeting a client) and switch to back-approved shoes the moment you return to the comfort of your office cubicle. The right shoes not only keep your back aligned but also provide balance.
Indulge in the occasional body massage – it improves flexibility and blood circulation, as well as reduces tension. Who says improving your posture takes hard work?
If you often wake up feeling stiff all over, maybe it’s time to upgrade your mattress and pillow. Feel your mattress to assess its firmness (generally, mattresses lose their support every eight years). A good mattress provides proper back support for the natural curves of your spine. Ensure your pillow is neither too firm not too soft. The position and type of pillow used differs from person to person – always consider the depth of your neck curve and your preferred sleeping position when choosing a pillow.