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The Secrets to Improving your Posture

06.05.23

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that about 4 million Australians (16%) suffer from back problems with many of these back issues being a result of poor postural habits due to extended periods of sitting, slouching over screens, and neglecting our body's need for movement. 

The global pandemic has significantly changed the way we live and work. As working from home has become the new norm for many of us, one area of our wellbeing that has often taken a backseat is our posture. Poor posture can lead to various health issues such as neck pain, back pain, and reduced mobility.

What causes postural problems?

If you love to sit slumped or hunched over your desk, that’s not necessarily cause for concern all on its own. What is, though, is when you sit that way all day long. Postural problems, can stem from a variety of factors that influence our daily lives. Sedentary lifestyles, where individuals spend prolonged periods sitting or engaging in activities with poor posture, can lead to muscle imbalances, joint stiffness, and reduced flexibility. Occupational demands, such as repetitive movements, heavy lifting, or awkward positioning, can also contribute to postural issues by placing undue strain on the musculoskeletal system. Additionally, certain medical conditions, injuries, or congenital deformities can result in postural challenges. Furthermore, factors such as age, obesity, and stress can exacerbate these problems, making it increasingly important to prioritise postural awareness and corrective measures in our everyday routines.

How long does it take to be negatively affected by bad posture?

Poor posture may not immediately result in noticeable consequences; however, over time, the effects can manifest in various ways. Typically, a period of several weeks to months is enough for these negative changes to become apparent. The long-term repercussions of improper posture include muscle imbalances, joint strain, spinal misalignment, and reduced mobility. Additionally, poor posture can lead to chronic pain, fatigue, headaches, and even respiratory and digestive issues. The time it takes to experience these adverse effects may vary from person to person, but awareness and consistent efforts to maintain proper alignment can make a world of difference in preserving one's health and well-being.

Ways to Improve Your Posture

With the increasing prevalence of sedentary lifestyles and the widespread use of technology, maintaining good posture has become more important than ever. Poor posture not only affects our physical appearance, but can also lead to a multitude of health issues such as chronic pain, decreased energy levels, and even reduced lung capacity.

We explore various methods to improve your posture, helping you to stand tall, exude confidence, and optimise your overall well-being.

1/ Strengthen Your Core Muscles
Strengthening your core muscles plays a crucial role in improving posture and maintaining overall body alignment. The core comprises a complex group of muscles, including the abdominals, lower back, pelvic floor, and hips, which work in harmony to support the spine and maintain an upright position. By engaging in targeted core exercises such as planks, bridges, and leg lifts, you can enhance muscle endurance, stability, and balance, ultimately leading to better posture. Improved posture not only contributes to a more confident appearance but also alleviates strain on the neck, shoulders, and back. In turn, this reduces the risk of musculoskeletal issues and promotes optimal spinal health, ensuring that you move through daily activities with greater ease and comfort.

2/ Set up an Ergonomic Workstation
The first step towards better posture is to set up an ergonomic workstation. Make sure your ergonomic chair offers proper lumbar support, and adjust the height so that your feet rest comfortably on the floor. Position your computer screen at eye level to avoid hunching or straining your neck. Keep your keyboard and mouse within easy reach to prevent unnecessary stretching or bending of your wrists.

3/ Improving your mind-body connection
Improving your mind-body connection is essential for developing better posture, as it enables heightened awareness and control over your physical alignment. By cultivating this connection, individuals can become more in tune with their body's natural alignment, allowing them to make conscious adjustments to correct imbalances and prevent strain. A strong mind-body relationship not only enhances self-awareness, but it also promotes mindfulness and concentration on the present moment. As a result, people can actively engage their muscles, strengthen their core, and maintain proper spinal alignment, leading to improved posture and reduced risk of discomfort or injury. Ultimately, fostering a robust mind-body connection leads to healthier posture and an increased sense of well-being.

4/ Be mindful of your posture throughout the day
Becoming more aware of your posture is an essential step towards improvement. Regularly check your posture throughout the day, and make adjustments as needed. You can also set reminders on your phone or computer to prompt you to sit up straight and maintain proper alignment.

5/ Take Regular Breaks
Sitting for extended periods can take a toll on your posture. Schedule regular breaks throughout the day to stand up, stretch, and walk around. A good rule of thumb is to take a break every 30-60 minutes. Incorporate simple stretches into your break routine to help alleviate muscle tension and maintain flexibility.

6/ Avoid Tech Neck
Tech neck, a modern-day phenomenon resulting from prolonged usage of electronic devices, can lead to discomfort, pain, and strain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. To avoid this ailment, it's essential to maintain good posture and take regular breaks from screens. Start by positioning your device at eye level, which will help keep your head upright and reduce the need to tilt your neck forward. Adjust your chair and desk height to promote a neutral spine alignment while seated. Incorporate regular breaks, such as the 20-20-20 rule, which involves looking away from your screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds at an object 20 feet away. Finally, strengthening exercises for the neck, shoulders, and upper back, along with stretching routines, can alleviate tension and improve overall posture, effectively minimising the risk of tech neck.

7/ Stretching

Stretching is essential for maintaining good posture as it helps to promote flexibility, balance, and proper alignment of the musculoskeletal system. Engaging in regular stretching exercises helps to elongate tight muscles and strengthen weaker ones, ultimately reducing muscle imbalances that contribute to poor posture. By targeting key muscle groups such as the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and legs, stretching can alleviate strain and tension, allowing for a more upright, natural posture. Furthermore, it enhances joint mobility and range of motion, enabling individuals to move more freely and comfortably throughout the day. As a result, incorporating stretching into one's daily routine can significantly improve overall posture, which in turn can lead to reduced risk of injury, increased efficiency of movement, and enhanced physical appearance.

The Benefits of Good Posture

Good posture offers a myriad of benefits that extend beyond mere aesthetics. By maintaining proper alignment of the spine and skeletal structure, individuals can experience reduced muscle strain and tension, leading to a decrease in chronic pain and discomfort. Improved posture also aids in optimising respiratory function, allowing for more efficient oxygen intake and increased energy levels. Additionally, proper posture contributes to enhanced mental focus and cognitive performance, as it encourages better circulation and blood flow to the brain. Moreover, the confidence that comes with standing tall can positively influence one's self-esteem, social interactions, and overall well-being. By cultivating good posture, individuals not only support their physical health but also lay the foundation for a more vibrant and engaged life.

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