How to Fix Your Bad Posture
As an adult, you probably won’t be constantly commenting on your posture like an elementary school teacher or parent may have done in the past. But as we grow up, it is perhaps even more important to sit up straight and not slouch. Of course, good posture looks better , but also the way we sit, stand and walk affects both our health and our mood . If you need a little help with your posture, here are a few things you can try.
Check your posture and learn to stand correctly
Before we even get to anything else, you must learn how to determine if you are standing at all right. Check your back and neck posture while leaning against a wall, or look at this drawing to find the areas you need to work on while standing. When you are standing, it is better to pay attention to your feet and adjust your weight so that it is evenly distributed over both feet. Looking for additional testing? These seven movements will test your basic mobility and core strength .
Do yoga or work on core strength
Core strengthening exercises can help you get taller and maintain correct posture. I love yoga because it also emphasizes body awareness and balance – and you can work with some pretty cool postures . Pilates and anyother core-oriented exercise can help with posture as well.
Sit at a 135 degree angle
Yes, sitting too long is bad for you . But when you do need to sit, make sure you have a good chair that supports your back and is ergonomic for your work area (more on that below). Sitting at a 135-degree angle can reduce stress on your spine , but you will need to adjust your workspace accordingly. If you don’t feel like leaning back, check out this animated guide to correct sitting.
Adjust your posture in any situation
Being aware of your posture at the table is important, but we also need to pay attention to other situations. For example, we need to sit upright while driving ( adjusting the rearview mirror can help ). In addition, our posture while sleeping , the type of pillow we use, and the type of mattress we sleep on all affect how we carry ourselves throughout the day. If you need to work out of bed, do so in a way that does not disturb your posture . And in the kitchen, you may need to adjust the height of the countertops to prevent them from hunched over.
Learn to breathe properly
How we breathe can have a profound effect on how we move and how we feel. Learn to breathe more efficiently using your diaphragm and try breathing exercises that lengthen your spine and engage your lower back and lower core muscles .
Use apps to improve your posture
Remembering to stand and sit correctly is hard work, so luckily there are apps that can help us. Nekoze is a cute app that uses your Mac’s camera to keep track of your posture – the cat (icon) will alert you when you slouch . There are other posture trainers available for iOS and Android , but if you don’t use camera apps, create your own position sensor for your chair .
Hold your phone and tablet correctly
Constantly stretching your neck to look at our phones doesn’t help . Try holding your phone straight in front of you rather than tilting your head, and similarly prop your tablet perpendicular to the table if you’re just reading.
Fix your workstation
If you are a table jockey, you can achieve the greatest improvement in posture by properly setting up your work area . Determine the ideal table height , whether sitting or standing, and keep your feet flat on the floor while sitting (an easy way to get a suitable seat high is to align it with your knees ). Here’s our complete guide to creating an ergonomic workspace .
Do exercises to correct your posture
Correct posture involves training your body in the correct position with minimal stress on the supporting muscles. In addition to these ways to improve your posture, we have shared a few simple exercises you can do to improve your posture:
- Improve your posture with exercises from the Army Field Manual.
- Correct your posture with three wall exercises
- Get the correct posture at the table with two easy body adjustments
- Improve posture and balance with a daily warm-up
- Stretching Guide To Help Fix Posture Problems
- Eliminate Computer Intuition and Other Posture Problems in 30 Seconds
Of course, if you have severe posture problems or pain, you should consult your doctor. But for most of us who are simply not as well-tuned as we should be, the tips above will hopefully help prevent pain and improve our well-being.
This story was originally published on 1/30/16 and was updated on 10/15/19 to provide more complete and up-to-date information.