Straighten Up! 5 Tips to Better Posture

October 06, 2014
Straighten Up! 5 Tips to Better Posture

Mary Beth has multiple sclerosis and is working on better posture with Cathy in physical therapy. But people with MS are not the only ones who have trouble with their posture.  Long work days,  hours spent sitting at a computer, and increased amount of time spent texting contribute to poor posture for many people.  Here's 5 tips on how to have better posture:

  1. Don't just sit there, get up and move! Avoid slumping and other poor postures by changing positions frequently. Poor posture puts extra pressure on your neck and back and re-positioning helps realign your joints and reduces stress. Take a break from sitting every half hour for two minutes in order to stretch, stand, or walk.
  2. Wear supportive footwear. Wearing high-heeled shoes causes the body's center of gravity to shift forward. To keep your balance, you must compensate the alignment of the entire body in a way that negatively affects your back and posture. Wearing supportive shoes enables the body to align correctly and improves posture and comfort.
  3. Exercise to prevent injury and promote good posture. Keep the muscles that surround your back strong to promote good posture and prevent injury. Keeping your "core" strong will enable your to sit, walk, lift and carry with good alignment and reduce the stress on your joints.
  4. Tuck your chin.   Be aware of the tendency to let your head drift forward. This puts stress on your neck and shoulders and is the leading cause of upper back pain. To check your head position, stand with your heels, hips, shoulders and head against the wall. Now tuck your chin down toward your sternum, keeping your head on the wall. Feel the stretch? That's a clue that your head is not used to being in correct alignment with your spine.
  5. Stay flexible. Tight muscles put stress on your joints and make it difficult to keep your joints in good alignment. Keep flexible by doing yoga, tia chi or other exercise that stretches your muscles.