Lots of reasons for poor posture scatter in different forms. Slouching is just one of them and being in that posture for long hours is another. Yet other reasons still arises that you may or may not know. It is a fact that our heads give an additional 10 pounds of weight to our neck and upper muscles every time we move it an inch forward. So, for three inches movements, there is a 30 pound of weight you let your neck and upper muscles carry and think how much pressure that is! One must be careful with his/her posture that may be unconsciously adopted by the body and later on brings muscle strain. Remember that bad posture or negligence for a good one, is like an open invitation for back pain and other muscle damages.
Having a proper posture is essential and addressing it, or trying to correct it for the first time might cause discomfort and awkwardness. Nevertheless, with continual practice, the body will adopt the proper posture like it is its second nature.
Some jobs require long hours of sitting or standing. The long hours is not a problem, but the poor posture during those hours becomes an invitation for chronic back pain.
Below are further concerns about posture mistakes that need to be addressed.
Slouching in a chair
Maintaining the natural lumbar curve is essential for a proper posture. Generally, slouching doesn’t cause discomfort; however, rounding your lower back for extended hours may strain on already sensitized muscles and soft tissues. The strain may increase tension that will lead to muscle ache.
Sticking the bottom out
This is commonly known as the “Donald Duck” posture. Wearing high heels, pregnancy or other excessive weight around the stomach contributed to this posture. The idea of having a perfect body alignment when standing is to maintain the natural spine curve. This is achieved with a straight neck and with the shoulders parallel with the hips.
Standing with a flat back
Tucked pelvis and straight lower back (instead of the natural curve) are the attributes of a flat back. People with a flat back tends to stoop forward and have difficulty standing for long hours. Spending long periods sitting down will encourage you to adopt this posture.
Hunched back and text neck
You might be surprised that being on your mobile phone also leads to back pain. “Text neck” is similar when you are hunching over a computer. You tend to lean forward and this also points to a bad posture. It means that you have a tight chest and a weak upper back.
Leaning on one leg
Leaning on one leg is very inviting if you are standing long enough; but over time, you may develop muscle imbalance around your pelvic area causing for muscle strain on your lower back muscles. Other causes of muscle imbalance around the pelvis area are lifting heavy backpacks on one shoulder or carrying toddlers on one hip.
Poking your chin
Poking your chin means sitting too low, your computer screen might set too high, a hunched back, or a combination of the three.
Cradling your phone
Bringing your phone between your head and shoulder is like asking for neck pain. The ears and shoulders are not designed for such position; thus shoulder pain comes. Try to hold the phone with your hands or use a hands-free device to avoid neck and muscle strain.
For better posture, you may consider these listed realignment exercises. It may feel awkward and uncomfortable when correcting posture but the body will adopt the good posture as second nature with continual practice.
Poor Posture Fix: Exercises to Try
1. Chin Tuck
This exercise can be done sitting or standing. Begin by rolling the shoulders back and down. Look straight ahead and place two fingers on your chin. Gently tuck your chin and move your head back. The more double chin you create, the better. Hold this for about 3-5 seconds before releasing. Repeat 10 times.
2. Wall angel
Stand with your back flat against a wall (glutes, spine, and head should be touching the wall); but your feet should be 4 inches away from its base. Bring your arms up, with your elbow bent so that your upper arms parallel the floor. Then squeeze your shoulder blades together, forming a letter “W”. Hold this for three seconds then bring your arms up straight, forming a “Y”, making sure that your shoulders do not shrug your ears. Repeat this 10 times starting with the “W”.
3. Doorway stretch
Stand in a doorway, then lift your arms bending on the elbow so your upper arm parallels to the floor and your fingers pointing upward. Touch the door jamb, slowly pushing against it as you lean forward. Maintain the tension for about 7-10 seconds. Relax the pressure then press against the doorjamb again, but this time lunge with your one leg forward making your chest past the door jamb. Also, maintain for 7-10 seconds. Repeat this stretch on each arm 2-3 times.
4. Hip flexor stretch
Kneel on your right knee with your toes down and your left foot flat on the floor. Press your hands on the left thigh as you bend your hip forward. Feel the good stretch on the hip flexors. Move your hips back keeping your chin parallel to the floor. Keep the pose for about 20-30 seconds before switching side.
5. The x-move
Get a resistance band and sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place the middle of the resistance band around the bottom of your feet and form an “X” by crossing one side over the other. Grab the ends of the band then pull it toward your hips bending the elbow so it points backward. Hold and slowly return. Do this for about 8-12 times for three sets.
6. The v-move
Use the same resistance band for this exercise. Stand in the middle of the resistance band with your one foot slightly behind the other holding the end of the resistance band in each of your sides. Bring your arms upward and outward for about 30 degrees, keeping a slight bend in your elbow. Stop at shoulder lever; hold and return.
Make sure that your shoulder blades are kept down and straight. Do this exercise for 2 minutes each day, five times a week; for according to a study, performing this simple resistance band exercise will reduce the neck and shoulder pain. It will also improve your body posture.