When I think of good posture, I automatically picture a prim and proper, Victorian-era woman sipping tea while balancing a book on her head.
Good posture is more than just cosmetic though—correct posture means that each part of the body is in line with its neighboring parts. This is especially important because it keeps your whole body supported and balanced.
On the flip side, the lack of posture can lead to muscle strain and can place extra stress on the spine. This can easily lead to lower back pain. For those who sit long hours in an office every day, this can be especially harmful.
The good news is, having excellent posture is totally doable. Here are three tips for maintaining perfect posture.
Practice Active Sitting
Slumping in your office chair is all too easy. Trust me, I find myself hunching over my keyboard, Quasimodo-style, on a regular basis. Unfortunately this isn’t doing any wonders for my back, and it won’t for yours either. Both of us need to do more “active sitting.”
Active sitting is extremely beneficial for you because it engages several different muscle groups, primarily your core. This is true whether you’re sitting in your office chair, lounging in a La-Z-Boy sofa, or perched on a stool in a cafe.
Here’s how it works:
- Place your feet flat on the floor
- Straighten your back and sit tall
- Stick your chest out
- Slightly pull your chin in
- Bring your shoulder blades down and close together
You feel that muscle action? That is what happens when you have perfect posture. It may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but it will get easier with practice.
Try the Exercise Ball at Work
Ever seen someone sitting on an exercise ball at his or her desk instead of a normal chair? I’ve noticed this trend here at USANA as well.
It turns out that there are several benefits to this. Since an exercise ball creates an unstable surface, it forces your body to balance itself out. This naturally lends to perfect spinal posture since proper posture is the easiest way to balance.
For those dealing with back pain, this can go a long way to improve spinal health. And not only will this enhance your alignment and balance, but your body uses your core (abdominal muscles) to keep your body balanced. You’re basically getting a mini ab workout throughout the day. Can you say six-pack?
Yeah, I may have to experiment and try this one out for myself.
One thing to note—it’s still possible to slump over while sitting on an exercise ball. The trick is to practice sitting actively while on the ball.
Choose an Ergonomic Chair
If the medicine ball idea doesn’t float your boat, try choosing an ergonomic chair.
Many people who work in an office setting sit on a chair that fails to provide much-needed lower back support. (Don’t worry my fellow USANA peeps, we have ergonomic chairs here at the Home Office.)
Did you know that sitting actually places a good deal of stress on your lower back? This is because it’s placing your full upper body weight onto your butt and thighs.
Sitting for long periods of time can also cause an increase of pressure on the springy intervertebral discs of your spine. An ergonomic chair fixes that.
Ergonomic chairs have been specifically designed with comfort in mind. The goal is to provide crucial lumbar support, which is a feature that’s lacking in traditional office chairs. These chairs also recline and allow for chair height, seat depth, and armrest adjustment. You can tailor your chair to fit your body perfectly.
Remember: an ergonomic chair doesn’t magically replace good posture. It is still important to practice proper posture when sitting.
So there you have it. You don’t have to attend one of those fancy BBC production-type finishing schools to learn proper posture. By practicing active sitting and using the right kind of office chair, you not only improve your posture but your spinal health as well.
Do you have some tips for great posture? Feel free to share your comments!
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