Three steps to perfect posture

Posted on October 2, 2017

Lady sitting up straight at her desk

No matter how physically fit you might be from the hours of exercise you subject yourself too, if you're slumping in your seat then you're liable to feel the effects of bad posture. For the many sufferers of back pain, you may not realise that by ignoring how you sit, stand, lie and lift you could be making your symptoms worse.

Poor posture accounts for a great number of those suffering with back and joint pain. Over time, the ergonomics of everyday activities can soon take their toll. Fortunately, if you recognise that your poor posture is causing you back pain then you can stop its demise and improve your ailments.  Following some simple steps to improve your posture, you can relieve the pressure you are putting on your spine, shoulders, hips and knees.

These three steps to good posture are designed to help you work on your core strength, straighten up and avoid the slump.

1. Standing Tall

Distribute your weight evenly on both feet, aligning your shoulders and pelvis with one another and imagine you have a tight piece of string pulling you upwards.

Another thing to consider is your footwear.  Whilst high heels may add inches to your height and flip flops are a summer essential, you should try and avoid wearing this type of unsupportive footwear. Shoes with an arch support not only help to reduce back pain and improve posture but they also help to align the feet and tone muscles.

2. Sitting pretty

Whether you're working hard at your desk, sat on the sofa at home, commuting via public transport or driving then you should consider how you're sat. When you sit with support, your lumbar is protected from shooting pains in your back. Sit with your feet flat on the floor, your weight on the back of your upper thighs and your bottom sat slightly towards the front of the chair - this is known as the tripod.

Desk exercise: Just because you're sat on your bottom for the duration of the working day, doesn't mean you need to get lazy. Rotate your shoulders every hour by squeezing your shoulder blades together to instantly rectify your posture.

Invest in a back pad for your desk chair; this will help you keep your posture in check when you're working too hard to notice how you're sitting. Having said that, working hard is no excuse to forget to straighten up, as with all new habits, the more conscious you are, the more naturally it will come to you.

3. Motion Matters

It's not just how you sit or stand that has an impact on your posture, but the whole movement of the body. It's not hard to believe that we spend inordinate amounts of time sitting down, but for many they don't realise just how much of a detrimental effect this is having on them. Our bodies are not meant to be stuck in a sedentary position for hours on end.  Slouchers beware, rather than spending the whole day in the same position, it's important to move around, even for just a minute, at least once an hour. Be sure to stand up, stretch those legs and spine before you return to your desk or sofa space.

*This article is designed for information purposes only and is not constructed to provide specific medical advice. If your symptoms worsen, please consult your doctor or health care practitioner.

**This article has been updated and was originally published on 28 October 2013

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