Proper posture is essential to looking and feeling good—and it’s also good prevention for health problems. If you have poor posture, your bones are not properly aligned, and your muscles, joints, and ligaments take more strain than nature intended. Faulty posture may cause fatigue, muscular strain, and, in later stages, pain. If the shoulders are slouched, the chest cavity is smaller, hindering inhalation. This reduces the flow of oxygen into the body, compromising digestion, circulation, and other vital functions.
To ensure excellent posture, pay attention to how you stand. Follow this simple exercise and feel the difference between standing correctly and the misaligned stance many of us take habitually.
1. Place your feet hip-width apart, with both feet pointing forward.
2. The legs should be straight but the knees should not be locked.
3. Let your arms rest naturally at your sides.
4. Feel your weight being supported in the middle of each foot. You may want to see how it feels to rock onto the ball of the foot and then back on the heel of the foot. Then find a balance in the middle.
5. Align the shoulders by first elevating them toward your ears, then rolling them back and down into a relaxed position away from the neck.
6. Center the head directly on top of the spine.
Many of us spend over half our waking life sitting in a chair behind a desk at the workplace. Therefore, finding a chair to support good posture is essential. Check for the following in your existing chair or while shopping for a new one:
1. You should be able to place both feet flat on the floor.
2. Your entire thigh should be supported by the seat of the chair.
3. The back support of the chair should be as high as your shoulder blades.
While seated, keep your upper torso aligned as in the standing posture. Check yourself periodically to be sure your posture is excellent, and also take frequent breaks to get up and stretch.