Good posture can reduce your back pain, decrease your risk of injury, improve blood circulation and reduce the amount of stress placed on your muscles and joints. Poor posture, on the other hand, can increase back pain, lead to poor blood circulation, impair respiratory function and cause a misaligned spine. This is why maintaining good posture at all times is very important.
Sit with your back and shoulders straight. Keep your feet flat on the floor and avoid crossing either your legs or ankles. While keeping your shoulders back and straight, rest your forearms on the table. If you're at work, adjust your work monitor so that your head isn't pointed too high or too low. Your chin should be parallel to the floor.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor. Like with sitting, your chin should be parallel with the floor. Stand tall as much as you can. Imagine a string pulling you up from your head. Pull your belly button toward your spine.
You can still have good posture even while you're lying down, as long as you make sure your spine is aligned and avoid twisting your waist. If you have back pain, placing a pillow underneath or between your legs can help relieve it. (Related: Improving your posture could help reduce muscle pain, joint pain and headaches.)
Maintaining your good posture will require a lot of work, at least until it becomes a habit. Fortunately, here are five exercises you can follow to support your posture.
Bridges strengthen your gluteal and abdominal muscles, helping relieve any excess stress you may have on your lower back.
This pose lengthens your lower back and opens your hips.
The hip flexor stretch opens your hips and improves balance and coordination.
The mountain pose can help improve your posture by focusing on upright body alignment.
Planking strengthens your back and shoulder muscles, as well as your hamstrings, glutes and even your core. This encourages proper spine alignment.
Maintaining good posture may take some time to master, but forming the discipline to improve yourself, especially when you like slouching, can have massive health benefits.