We’ve been told all our lives about the importance of posture – from parents, from teachers, and from doctors. Most of us find it easier to simply ignore their advice, but as it turns out good posture is incredibly important for protecting against injury, especially back pain. Furthermore, there are a myriad of simple posture changes that you can do right now to keep yourself healthy! The point of good posture is to remember that your spine has natural curves meant to support your weight, and working with them is imperative for good back health. 1. Stand Up Straight! The curves of the spine are designed to support one against the pull of gravity, and when one is standing up straight these curves work in conjunction with your muscles to keep your back healthy for years to come. When you slouch it adds more work to these muscles, straining them and leading to potential injury in your twilight years. 2. Stomach In, Shoulders Back, Head Forward As with standing up straight, it is important to maintain the natural curves of the spine. By tucking in the gut, keeping the shoulders back, and head forward, the muscles attached to the spine can be used to maintain that natural curvature. In short: there is a valid positive health benefit to standing like a soldier. 3. Back Straight When Sitting When you are sitting down, maintaining good back posture remains just as critical as when standing. At all times you want to maintain the three natural curves of the body. When in a chair ensure that your buttocks are up against the back of the chair. Using a back support or lumbar roll is a good way to maintain the necessary supports. 4. Knees Bent at Right Angle When Seated, Feet Flat to the Floor In order to maintain a good posture, it is important your entire body provides the adequate support: to include your feet and legs. Keeping your knees bent at a right angle (90 degrees) and your feet flat to the floor encourages proper posture when sitting on the ground. Kicking your legs out and resting your heels on the ground encourages slouching and makes it difficult to maintain good back posture. 5. Stand with your Legs Lifting with your legs doesn’t apply only to heavy lifting – when standing up from a sitting position the best posture for even this simple act is to move forward to the edge of the seat, and then straighten out your legs without bending forward at the waist. This maintains that critical support your back needs and keeps back pain from coming about for years to come. 6. Back Mostly Straight When Lifting While a slight bend may be necessary when lifting, avoid lifting with your back at all costs – your leg muscles are far more powerful and allow you to lift heavier objects without throwing your back out. Remember: your back wasn’t designed for lifting, it doesn’t have the leverage for it – use your legs. 7. Avoid Twisting your Back When Lifting If you’re carrying a heavy load, don’t twist your back – allow your waist, hips, and legs to maintain your posture and provide the necessary amounts of support. Remember: the cornerstone of good posture is letting the natural curves of your body do all the work for you! Sources: Mayfield Clinic Mayo Clinic Featured images: License: Creative Commons image source This article was written by Brennen Kliffmueller. Brennen has been volunteering in a physical therapy office for years now and has seen first hand the struggles patients have with back injuries. He also is a writer for eCompliance. Feel free to check out his Google+.
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