Have you ever been told to “stand straight”, maybe by your parents or teachers? They weren’t wrong to tell you that having good posture is important. The technical term for having bad posture is postural imbalance, and there are various reasons why you might be suffering from it. Some of the most common causes include; improper standing or sleeping, stress, slouching while sitting and bending your neck forwards while using your phone.
Although it might be something that you don’t realise at first, poor posture really can harm your overall health, especially in the long run. When we have poor posture, we add tension and compression to structures that weren’t meant to bear that weight. These stresses and strains build up over time and can wear down our bones, joints, and ligaments, even changing the way our muscles work.
If you are suffering from postural imbalance or simply want to prevent it, follow those exercises and tips that can help alleviate muscle tension and as a result, help to fix posture mistakes:
- Sit correctly. Your muscles are may not be conditioned to support you in the right position as they are used to supporting you in the wrong position, so it might feel uncomfortable at first, but you can also do exercises like bridges, back extensions and planks that will strengthen your core.
- When standing, keep your body in perfect alignment with your neck straight and shoulders parallel with the hips. This is a great fix if your bottom tends to stick out or have what some call the “Donald Duck posture”. Some exercises that can help correct your standing posture are; planks, side-lying leg raises, hip flexor stretches and standing thigh stretches.
- Try standing with your weight evenly distributed on both legs. If you are usually leaning on one leg when standing or carrying your heavy backpack on one of your shoulders, you are causing extra pressure to that side of your body which can cause uneven hips. Doing planks, side-lying leg raises, and bridges will strengthen your hip muscles and as a result, help to correct this.
Correcting your posture may feel awkward at first because your body has become so used to sitting and standing in a particular way. The more you practise these exercises and tips, the faster you will be able to correct your posture and maintain it for the long run.
If you have muscle or joint pain or if you think that you may have bad posture, consult with your GP or contact local chiropractic clinic.