Having an incorrect posture can lead to several mental and physical health issues. Unfortunately, the importance of good posture is often overlooked even by the most ardent fitness enthusiasts and the most health-conscious people.
More often than not, you may not even be aware that your posture is wrong and needs correcting. You could be slouching at your desk or slumping when you’re driving, but not be aware that you’re doing it. Correcting a wrong stance and developing a good posture require constant awareness and conscious effort on your part. In this article, we’ll explore the difference between good and bad posture, learn the importance of the right posture, and discover some tips to correct and maintain your posture.
What Is the Difference Between Good and Bad Posture?
Understanding the difference between good and bad positions can help you identify whether your posture needs correcting. It is the first step on the journey from bad to good posture. To comprehend and appreciate the difference between the two, let’s first understand what each kind of posture means.
What Is Good Posture?
Good posture essentially means that the three natural curves present in a healthy spinal column are in their right positions. Also known as the neutral spine position, it requires that when you look at the body from either side, the neck region should be bent slightly inward, the upper back and chest region should be bent slightly outward, and the lower back or lumbar region again bends slightly inward.
What Is Bad Posture?
Bad posture means that either one or more of the spine’s natural curves aren’t in their right positions. Slouching is the most common form of poor posture. Some other kinds or signs of bad posture include rounded shoulder, a pot belly, a head that tilts forward or backward, and knees that are bent when you stand or walk. Bad posture can cause some of your muscles to tighten and others to loosen, eventually making them weaker.
What Is the Difference between Good and Bad Posture?
The key difference between good and bad posture lies in how each one impacts your physical and mental health. While the former tends to make you feel more confident and has several positive health benefits, the latter can lead to low self-esteem and adversely impact your body. Knowing the difference between correct and incorrect posture can help you get started on the journey to realigning bad posture.
Why Is Good Posture Important?
Good posture has several positive effects on the body. Here are some of the benefits of practicing the right posture.
Eliminates Neck and Back Pain
Improper posture means that your spine needs to put in added effort to support your weight and maintain your stance. On the other hand, good posture reduces any unwanted pressure on the spinal column and makes it easy for the backbone to balance and support your body’s weight effectively. As a result, any stress or pain in the neck and back is automatically eliminated.
Relieves Tension Headaches
Tension headaches are among the other common consequences of improper posture. When your posture isn’t right, the tension that builds up in your neck can contribute to headaches that don’t go away with massages or painkillers. Incorporating exercises that work out your core and doing pectoral and pelvic stretches can alleviate the tension in the neck muscles and relieve tension headaches.
Promotes Efficient Breathing
Slumping over or slouching when you sit compresses your rib cage and collapses it slightly, leaving less room for your lungs to expand and your diaphragm to contract. As a result, your breathing becomes less efficient and your lung capacity is reduced. This can make you suffer from shortness of breath often. To help resolve this issue, sit upright and ensure that your chest isn’t contracted.
Boosts Spinal Health
The spine is one of the most vital parts of the body as it plays a significant role in balance and alignment. It is also a fundamental part of the central nervous system. Slouching can degrade the health of your spine and can cause it to deteriorate over time. To prevent these kinds of problems, it is important to ensure that you adopt a good posture. Maintaining the health of your spine contributes to your body’s overall health as well.
Improves Bodily Functions
Good posture ensures that all your vital organs have the right amount of space to function in. When they’re compressed due to incorrect posture, their regular functioning may be affected over time. So adopting proper posture allows your bodily systems like the circulatory system, the respiratory system, and the digestive system to do their jobs without any stress or added pressure. Good posture also improves memory and learning.
What Are the Best Ways to Correct Bad Posture and Maintain Good Posture?
Improving your posture can be a challenge, particularly if you’ve always had bad posture. However, although improvement can take time, a few techniques can help you develop good posture faster. Here are some tips that can help you correct bad posture and maintain the right posture.
Try Not to Slump at Your Desk
The office desk is where most bad posture is developed. To beat this unhealthy trend, make a conscious effort to refrain from slouching. Sit all the way back in your chair and use a lumbar cushion or a rolled-up towel behind the middle of your back to support and maintain your spine’s natural curve. Bend your knees at right angles and place your feet flat on the floor.
Use the Right Techniques to Stand and Walk
The manner in which you walk and stand also contribute to whether you have a great posture overall. A good tip to follow is to ensure that you place your weight on the balls of your feet when you stand or walk. Concentrating your weight on your heels increases your tendency to slouch and develop rounded shoulders. So when you’re standing for prolonged periods, or when you’re walking or running, make it a point to put your weight on the balls of your feet.
Beware of “Text Neck”
The increased use of smartphones has given rise to “text neck,” which is another posture-related issue. It arises because you constantly tilt your neck downward to browse through your phone. So if you spend a lot of time looking at your smartphone, take frequent breaks to stretch your neck and massage the region. This can relieve some of the stress that bending your neck puts on your spine.
Use Posture-Friendly Props
Since developing good posture is all about correcting the shape of your spine, using posture-friendly props that encourage this endeavor can be extremely helpful. Some examples of such props include lumbar pillows or rolled-up towels to support your lower back when you’re driving or sitting at your desk, and footrests that help you keep your feet at the right height. Another great idea is to use an exercise ball in place of your office chair.
Set Your Bed Up in the Right Manner
The kind of mattress you use and the manner in which you sleep can also affect your posture. For starters, pick a mattress that’s firm and helps your spine hold its natural shape. Additionally, if you tend to sleep on your side, it helps if you place a pillow under your head because it levels out your spine. If you tend to sleep on your back, opt for a smaller and thinner pillow for your neck.
Pick the Right Kind of Footwear
Despite enjoying a high fashion quotient, pumps and stilettos may not be the best kind of footwear for everyday use. These high-heeled footwear options push the base of your spine forward, making you arch your back more than needed. This can increase the pressure on your nerves in the long run and can eventually change the way your spine is shaped. So reserve the high heels for special occasions and opt for flatter footwear on a daily basis.
Perform Posture-Correcting Exercises
There are several exercises that can help you correct wrong spinal alignment and maintain good posture. Hip bridges, shoulder blade squeezes, and yoga poses like the cobra pose and the cat-cow pose can help you flex your spine and release the tension built up due to wrong posture. Exercising your abs and eliminating belly fat is also important because this can reduce the pressure on your spine.
Despite following these tips and ideas, if you notice that you aren’t seeing any evident results, it’s advisable to visit a physical therapist and have them evaluate your posture. Professional therapists can identify the precise cause of bad posture and can prescribe the right techniques to correct your problem. The key thing to remember is that it’s important to develop and maintain good posture and it’s necessary to take the steps that are needed to achieve this goal.