Have you started working on your 2017 resolutions yet? Don’t forget to push a resolution to “improve posture” to the top of the list.
Why? Well, besides being a key to overall good health, better posture can also help you achieve goals for 2017 in other parts of your life. Studies show that good posture will make you more confident, increase your energy levels and help you manage stress—all traits you need to tackle your resolutions this year.
Good posture is an especially important goal for those who spend most of their day sitting at a desk. A healthy back has three natural curves, which good posture helps maintain:
- An inward curve at the neck
- An outward curve at the upper back
- An inward curve at the lower back
Good posture takes strain off your joints and muscles, preventing aches and pains. Long term, poor posture can give you shoulder pain, neck aches, back pain, headaches and even decreased lung function.
If you've put better posture on your list of New Year’s resolutions, follow these tips to keep your spine healthy and your appearance confident throughout the year.
1. Improve core strength.
A strong core is a key component in having good posture, because your core supports your upper body, giving you more strength to hold yourself up. Core exercises can help build these muscles.
Yoga is a more relaxing way to build your core strength. Not only so, but yoga also can improve your balance, flexibility and range of motion, all which can contribute to better posture.
Take a few minutes out of your day to stretch, as well.
2. Use available tools.
Posture Aware is an app that gives you strength exercises as well as stretches for neck, back, shoulder and spine flexibility. It also gives you the option to view different posture techniques and set reminders to correct yours.
Lumo Body Tech Back. This app uses a band you put on your lower back which gently vibrates every time you slouch to remind you to sit up straight. The app then tracks your progress on your posture, including how long you sit and how many steps you take throughout the day.
You are more at risk for worse posture and health complications if you sit for long periods of time each day. Raised Square is an app that reminds you to take breaks throughout the work day and stand up, stretch or walk around.
The neck muscles can also be strained from your poor posture when you’re looking down at your cell phone. Practicing this simple exercise can be helpful to cure “smartphone neck.”
3. Stick with it.
Put a post-it note on the top of your computer screen at work and your mirrors at home. Ask your friends to remind you whenever you see them. Tape some photos on your refrigerator of how unattractive slouching looks to give you motivation to keep it up. Wherever you spend your time throughout the day, make sure you are reminded!
Every time you practice better posture, you are teaching your body how to stand up straight. Repetition will help your body get away from slouching. Remember better posture this year for your New Year’s resolutions and its health benefits!
This year, dedicate your New Year’s resolution to improving your posture and overall muscular/skeletal health. A great way to keep yourself to these goals is working with a trained Physical Therapist.
Sign up for a free consultation with Dr. Jessica Wiley to learn how physical therapy can help you achieve your 2017 fitness goals.