How much thought do you give to your posture? If you’re like most people, you don’t give it much thought at all. But the truth is that you should take your posture seriously. Poor posture can be devastating to your shoulders, spine, hips, and knees and can cause problems such as poor flexibility, weakened muscles, and pain in your joints and back.
The good news is that you can avoid all of these problems with a check of your posture. Here’s how:
Put on something that clings to your form. Then take 2 photos of your entire body. One photo should be from the side, and the other should be facing the camera. With your feet directly under your hips, relax your body. Don’t forget to smile!
Now it’s time to look at your photos.
• Where is your ear? It should be over your shoulder’s midpoint. If your ear is in front of the midpoint, then your head is not back far enough.
• Look for your shoulder blade. If you can see it, then your back is overly rounded.
• Is one shoulder higher than the other? They should be even.
• Now look at your knees. Do they touch when your legs are straight? They shouldn’t.
• Check your toes. They should point out no more than 10 degrees.
• Finally, look to see if you have an anterior tilt to your pelvis. You have one if your lower spine is notably arched and your hips slant forward, pooching your belly out
Now here’s more good news: You can improve your posture. Here are some good posture guidelines.
When sitting at a desk
Make sure your chair is a good fit for you and don’t slouch or lean forward. Keep your shoulders straight, your feet flat on the floor, and your knees even with or slightly higher than your hips. (Sound familiar from grade school?)
Get up and walk around frequently when seated for long periods.
Keep the headrest in the middle of your head and keep your back firmly against the seat. Keep the seat a comfortable distance from the pedals and steering wheel.
When standing and walking
Keep your feet at about shoulder width, with your weight mainly on the balls of your feet. Stand tall and straight, keeping your head centered on your spine. Keep your shoulders square. Relax your arms and don’t lock your knees. If you have to stand for long periods, alternate your weight from one foot to the other or rock back and forth from your heels to your toes.
Here’s wishing you better posture and a healthier you!