As kids, we were all told to stand up straight and sit up at the table. Those rules were put in place for a reason, usually to present a polite image. However, the truth is that good form does more than make us look better; it also protects our spine from pain, sprains and stress. It is adults who are especially at risk of back pain, and so it is adults who must pay especially close attention to their posture.
What Is Good Posture vs. Bad Posture?
Good posture is all about keeping the body in correct alignment and balance. When a person is standing, there should be an invisible line from the ear to the shoulder, hip, knee and ankle.
Unfortunately, the average person tends to forget about maintaining good posture throughout the day, which can lead to long-term problems. One should be careful to avoid the following examples of poor posture in the workplace:
- Sitting on the edge of one’s seat without using lumbar support of the chair.
- Slouching or hunching the shoulders forward.
- Wearing high heels every day.
- Looking upward or downward all day.
- Improperly carrying heavy objects.
- Cradling a phone between the neck and shoulder.
How Does Posture Affect the Spine?
Slumping, slouching and uneven posture can change the anatomical characteristics of the spine over many years or even months, leading to pinched nerves, decreased circulation, weakened muscles, joint damage and problems with discs. Headaches, fatigue, muscle soreness and potentially serious organ and respiratory damage can result from these issues.
Tips for Practicing Good Posture
Practicing good posture begins with being conscious of bad posture. Take note throughout the day of whether or not you are slouching, dropping one shoulder or carrying a heavy object on one side of the body.
Human spines are made to move and stand, not sit for extended periods. Taking breaks to allow time for walking around can help refresh and improve the posture. Investing in ergonomic office chairs that offer better support than regular chairs also encourages better posture through maximum lumbar support.
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