Chances are you have bad posture. Did you just straighten up reading that? Well, if you do, you’re not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 80 percent of all Americans currently have or will have lousy posture. That’s not hard to believe when you look around, and everyone you see is hunched over looking at a smartphone (you’re probably doing it right now!). “Tech neck” is real, and it is impacting our posture, which then affects not just our physical health but also overall wellness.
Try this: Look in the mirror and see how much your body changes when you straighten up. In a second, you can go from slumpy and slouchy to regal, polished, longer, and leaner.
Good posture also helps eliminate nagging headaches, helps you feel more energized, and contributes to an overall better mood.
Why aren’t we all walking around like ballerinas and supermodels? Well, our “modern lifestyle” doesn’t help! Good posture is essential! And bad posture over a long period means changes in your muscles and joints that prevent them from straightening out.
Are any of these true for you?
- A sedentary lifestyle has become an unwanted side effect of the pandemic. Good posture and lounging around on the couch don’t mix! Maybe you never quite got back into the workout groove, or you're just not getting out for a good walk as much.
- Circling back to Tech Neck, we hang our heads down all day looking at our phones. For every inch you stick your head out, you add 10 pounds of weight carried down through your spine.
- Maybe you created your own work-at-home station at the kitchen table. Long days at workstations that aren’t ergonomically correct are a huge source of bad posture pain.
Suppose those reasons or others have contributed to your posture problems. In that case, you are probably feeling headaches from tension in your upper back, neck, and shoulders, poor balance from the body not being positioned correctly, maybe even breathing difficulties because of less diaphragm mobility. Some REALLY unwanted side effects: sitting for long periods slouched over puts continuous pressure on the stomach and the intestines leading to… incontinence, heartburn, and even constipation!
So let’s get serious about improving our posture.
First, we need to know what good posture is.
Dynamic Posture is your posture when you are moving.
When walking or jogging, you should maintain the three natural curves- at your neck, mid-back, and low back but not increase them in any way. Head placement is the key: your head should be above your shoulders, and the top of your shoulder should be over the hips. Think about keeping your earlobes in line with your shoulders.
One way to keep in alignment: try insoles. They can help to help realign how the feet articulate themselves on the ground. This can then affect the body’s entire overall posture and movement. Copper Fit Work Gear Comfort Insoles have contoured arch support and a heel cushion for extra support. Bonus: happy, cushioned feet. Couple that with a back stabilizing support, and you’ll have good posture nailed! The Advanced Back Pro helps improve posture and is also designed to help reduce lower back stress and strain. The compression technology helps improve blood flow to the lower back and can help to reduce inflammation.
Static Posture is your posture when you aren’t moving (standing or sitting).
This is what you need to do to stay in alignment, especially when you are sitting at a desk for a big chunk of the day:
- Your feet should rest on the floor or a footrest.
- The backrest of your chair should support your low and mid-back.
- Ankles should be in front of the knees (don’t cross your legs!)
- Keep a small gap between the front of the chair and the back of the knees.
- Keep knees at or below the level of your hips.
- Forearms should be parallel to the ground.
- Keep your shoulders back and relaxed (think about strengthening your core.)
- Keep your chin up!
The good news is, you can correct your posture!
Here are some “tricks” :
- Good posture comes from checking in with your body all day long. Consider a posture support- a soft brace that reminds the postural muscles of optimal positioning. Copper Fit’s adjustable straightener supports your shoulders and upper back for proper posture. The easiest, “no-brainer” way to ensure you are holding good posture.
- Make sure your workplace is ergonomically correct. If you can’t sit with the proper form outlined above, consider props like a footrest, portable lumbar back support, or even grabbing a small pillow and placing it behind your back. And- treat yourself! Add a Rapid Relief Neck and Shoulder Wrap to your workday to tame tension in the neck and shoulders and help you relax and get instant relief from tech neck while working. Better yet- use hot or cold therapy. It will become the highlight of your workday!
- Stretch throughout the day.The “Perfect Posture Workout” app guides you through quick and easy standing exercises. Or just find a couple of go-to stretches that you can easily do throughout the day. A simple standing forward fold will do wonders! Or you can immediately stretch your back by doing ten standing backbends- or massage your spine with a cat-cow stretch. Feels so good!
Copper Fit Tip: One of the most popular tips for good posture at work is on Buzzfeed- and it’s so simple:
- Draw a stick figure with an upright posture on a post-it note.
- Put it in your workspace near your line of vision- maybe on the cubicle wall just above your computer screen.
- Every time you glance at it, straighten up!
This simply activates the postural muscles, so you place them where they should be. Like anything, the more you do it, it becomes a new habit, and you are on your way to better posture all the time.
Keep working on good posture - it can lead to a more vibrant, energized life. The way you carry your body has profound effects on your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing- and hey, you just look better too!
Just a few of the fantastic benefits?
- Less tension in your body
- Your body will age better- with greater, more robust function as you get older
- Fewer headaches
- Back relief
And all of this leads to a better mood and more overall energy- that is something that we all want!