Sit Up Straight

And not just because Mom said so.

For many of us, the very mention of good posture conjures up memories of school teachers and parents scolding us as kids. But as it turns out, all those “sit up straights,” “keep your shoulders backs,” and “don’t slouches” were good advice, medically speaking.

When you slouch, your whole body gets squished. It puts stress on your spine, straining the muscles and resulting in back pain. And don’t forget about your internal organs, like your lungs and intestines. Over time, this compression can make it harder to digest food, and even make it harder to get enough oxygen. On the other hand, standing up straight can improve mood, alertness and even make you look slimmer. What’s not to love?

Not to say that change is ever easy, but with posture, a little mindfulness goes a long way. Let’s take a look at the most common causes for poor posture.

Desktop Doldrums
When you’re at work, you spend a lot of time sitting at your desk staring at your computer. But try not to get too comfy. Instead, plant your feet flat on the floor, keep your knees bent at a right angle, and push your rear end to the back of the chair. A rolled-up towel or pillow behind your back can support your spine’s natural curvature.

Behind the Wheel Woes
When you settle in for your daily commute, try to apply some of the same principles as your desktop stance. Slide your seat forward a few inches and raise the back so you’re sitting up straight, keeping your knees slightly bent and at hip-level.

Text Neck Terror
How many times a day do you look down at your phone? A thousand? A million? Instead of cricking your neck to look down, raise the phone up and move your eyes to check your texts.

Bedtime Blues
Good posture doesn’t only apply when you’re sitting or standing; sleep posture plays an important role, too. In this case, a firmer mattress is preferable, as it helps to support your spine’s curves. And ditch those enormous pillows, opting instead for a smaller pillow under the neck.

Above all, exercising and strengthening your core muscles supports your back and naturally discourages poor posture. Plus, losing a few extra pounds off your belly can take a lot of stress off your back.

Now that you’ve got an idea what to look for and how to combat poor posture, get out there and stand tall.

Woman working in an office.

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