How’s your posture right now? We bet you just straightened up on your seat after you’ve read that. You may have always been told that poor posture looks terrible, but it’s time to tackle the more dangerous adverse effects of it on your health.
A poor posture strains certain muscles and joints in your back, causing them to be worn out. This often leads to nagging back, neck, and shoulder pains. The good news though is that we can reverse this problem with our quick and easy solutions on how to fix bad posture fast.
In the long run, these pains may result in more severe damage such as arthritis, bone damage, and spinal problems. These discomforts can truly hinder your everyday well-being; that’s why it’s essential to change your habits before it’s too late. However, let us first find out the roots of this problem.
How Does Our Posture Get Bad?
Our bad habit of constant slouching is the most common reason why our back structure becomes used to poor posture. However, there are numerous other factors to consider why good posture is hard to maintain.
Some people can develop bad posture due to injury or muscle weakness. When they get injured, closer muscles go into spasm to protect the weakened area. As these muscles weaken, they get lesser chances of standing upright with gravity, which leads to bad posture.
Technology also plays a significant role, especially when you sit in front of a computer all day. It is also unhealthy when you always look down to work on your gadgets, such as your cell phone. Why? Excessive bending and flexing of your neck will most likely lead you to pain and bad posture.
Your mental health and stress levels should also be considered given the strain it does on the way you sit, stand, and walk. Being stressed can lower down your breathing level, cause your muscles to contract too much, and hinder you from a good posture.
Why Good Posture Is Important
Your future self will thank you for your good posture, especially with the benefits it has for your bones and joints. It’s crucial to maintain their correct alignment so that their surrounding muscles will function properly even until you get old.
Your muscles will also be more efficient when you have good posture since less energy is required to support your body. This results in less fatigue and stress to help you become more productive during the day.
Moreover, good posture can help you avoid the abnormal wearing out of joint surfaces, which leads to various types of arthritis. It also prevents you from experiencing backache and muscular pain.
Lastly, good posture indicates good appearance, high confidence, and a positive mood. Your posture plainly says a lot about you and your health. So here’s how to fix bad posture fast:
Three Pillars Of Improving Posture
Bad posture can be easily avoided through your constant conscious awareness of your posture. It may take some time to become accustomed to this kind of awareness, but continuously practicing will get you that ideal posture in no time.
The three pillars of improving your posture are proper sitting, standing, and lying down. These necessary activities that you can accomplish daily are the key to improve your bad posture.
If your work requires sitting down for a long time, it’s highly essential to learn the correct way of sitting without hurting your posture. To start your practice for it, make sure that your back is correctly aligned at a right angle to your thighs.
Then, set your shoulders straight and keep your head upright. Next, check if your back, neck, and heels are also aligned to prevent yourself from slouching when you find yourself sitting for a long time.
It’s also helpful to invest in a well-cushioned chair that correctly supports your back. It should also be fit for your weight and height for a more comfortable sitting position.
Another helpful tip is adjusting your computer or laptop screen to a slightly higher angle, so you tend to automatically sit up when you use it. A 75 to 90-degree angle from your elbows is already ideal for helping you practice in sitting up straight.
Standing Up Properly
Getting used to properly standing up is one of the best ways on how to fix bad posture fast since the majority of our time is usually spent upright. To do this, practice by trying to stand up as straight and tall as possible.
Then, align your chin level slightly pointing to the ground. Keep your shoulders and your stomach in while your arms fall freely at your sides. Put your feet apart aligned with your shoulders and keep practicing the proper alignment of your whole body until you get used to the habit of standing up straight.
You can also quickly check if your posture is correct by standing back against a wall or door. Make sure that your shoulders, your butt, and the back of your head are touching the surface. Then, check behind your back if there’s a space to confirm if it’s the right angle.
Proper Lying Position
A good amount of the time we spend within a day is on the comforts of our beds, so providing support in your back is very important. Whether you prefer sitting on your back, side, or stomach, placing a pillow between you and your bed is ideal.
For those who sleep on their backs, put a small pillow at the back of your knees. Then, place another one on your head to support it. If you sleep on your stomach, it’s advisable to put a flat pillow below your stomach to support your weight. You may also opt for a pillow on your head.
As for those who sleep on their side, it’s best to keep a pillow between your knees. Then, pull them closer towards your chest. Your head will also need a pillow to rest on and keep your spine correctly aligned.
Don’t forget to choose a mattress which feels comfortable and ideal for a pain-free back. It all depends on your preference, but it’s good to choose one that has the support you aim for. The right mattress should also stay good with you for 5-10 years before replacement.
Habits To Avoid To Fix Bad Posture Fast
To fully maximize your chance in maintaining a good posture, we’ve rounded up more tips that you should avoid to develop a good posture quickly. We also included effective habits that you can incorporate with consistent practicing.
Do you ever find yourself slouching, with your head forward and your shoulders rounded while you’re using your cell phone? Well, you might be engaging in this alarming position which is called “text neck.”
With an average of five hours per day usage of your devices, it’s essential to be aware that this may lead to serious pains such as neck and backaches.
The danger behind text neck is that it puts pressure and tightness around the muscle, tendon, and ligament structures in your neck. And since a human’s head weighs around 10 pounds, tilting it over one side for a long time will surely strain it.
Now that technology makes the world go round, letting go of our devices isn’t really ideal. Instead, keeping your head at a right angle and holding your phone in the right way can quickly help combat text neck and further contribute to your better posture.
Slumping At Your Desk
Did you know that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 31% of work-related injuries are caused by musculoskeletal disorders and injuries? As we have discussed, bad posture leads to dangerous health conditions.
Numerous studies also discovered strong links between slouching at work and chronic back pain. An unhealthy workstation also contributes to neck strain and back pain if not treated right away. Proper ergonomics or aligning your body needs to your specific job will come a long way in aiming for good posture.
The key to preventing yourself from slumping at your desk is to practice the neutral posture wherein you have a complete body alignment. During work, keeping your laptop screen at an eye-level is good so you won’t have to tilt your head. Place your work essentials at an arm’s length so you won’t have to bend to reach for your things.
You should also refrain from crossing your legs or ankles to prevent hip misalignment. It’s best to keep your feet flat on the ground to help you relax your body. With this neutral posture concept, you reduce the risk of chronic pain and possible injuries.
Cradling Your Phone
Do you also have this habit of holding your phone through putting it in your ear and supporting it with your shoulder? Well, you should drop this habit immediately to prevent further posture and health issues.
When you constantly do this, it overworks your soft tissues and muscles which lead to misalignment of the left and right sides of your neck. The tilt is not also advisable given the imbalance weight of your head.
To counteract neck pain and stiffness due to this habit, you can try doing neck stretches by slowly lowering your right ear towards your right shoulders and hold it for about 15 seconds. Then, repeat the same process on the other side.
Neck rotations are also helpful. To do this, gently push your chin towards one of your shoulders then remain for about 10 to 15 seconds. Then repeat it on the other side.
Rounded shoulders are usually caused by muscle abnormalities, bad posture habits, and imbalanced exercise routines which don’t strengthen the upper back. To find out if you have rounded shoulders, check yourself in the mirror, stand straight, and let your arms hang loose at your sides.
If your knuckles are facing front, it might mean that you have a tight chest and a weak upper back which results in the appearance of rounded shoulders. To correct this, you must strengthen your upper back and chest. You may try exercises such as planking, chest stretches, bridges, and pull-ups.
Poking Chin Posture
If you usually poke your chin out when you’re sitting, this leads to poor posture. The poking chin posture is usually caused by hunching your back, sitting on a low angle, and putting your screen higher than eye-level.
To correct this posture, your sitting habits must be changed. First, elongate your neck upwards while tucking in your chin. Then slowly put your shoulder blades down and back towards your spine. Maintain a standard curve in your lower back to ensure a good posture.
You can also adjust your seating position and angle to avoid poking your chin out.
Mobile Apps To Remind You With Your Posture
While you’re using your mobile device, we recommend these apps which will regularly remind you of your posture. It works by showing you specific exercises so you’ll remember the need to straighten up your back or your head tilt. Eventually, it will become your natural habit to check your posture.
For Apple users, Posture, Back Pain Exercise, Back Pain Relief Exercises, and Back Fix are just some of the free and helpful apps which you can make use of.
For Android users, the Posture Reminder app is beneficial given the constant notifications it will send you on your device so you’ll always be reminded with these posture checks.
For a more straightforward way on how to fix bad posture fast, you can also rely on your handy mobile alarm clock and set up notifications during specific times of the day to remind you with your posture.
There are also smart devices such as the Upright Go or Lumo Lift where you’ll be able to attach to your upper back, and the device will tell you whether you’re slouching to help correct your posture.
Best Exercises To Fix Bad Posture
One of the leading causes of poor posture is overworking muscles that’s why releasing tension from your body is a great way to promote more movement. Exercises help keep your body’s form aligned and stretched as well. Here are some of the exercises you can try to keep yourself active:
This simple stretching exercise brings lesser tension in your glutes, spine, and hamstrings while your legs and hips are also flexed. This stretch provides an excellent opening up feeling on your whole back to release your stress. To achieve this:
- Stand still while your toes touch and your heels are placed apart a little.
- Put your hands to your hips and fold your body down at your hips.
- Free your hands towards the floor or try to reach and stretch as far as you can.
- Fold your knees a little, allow your hips joints to be stretched and your spine elongated.
- Bring your chin towards your chest and let your head fall heavy towards the ground.
- Stay in this position for up to one minute and repeat for two to three times.
This exercise is great for letting your chest stretch and open through repetitive poses. You can easily practice this after long hours of sitting given the lack of movement with your chest. A strong chest is also beneficial in making you stand straighter. Here’s how:
- Stand straight and put your feet at about a hip wide apart
- Place your arms on your back and intertwine your fingers while your palms are pressed. If your hands can’t meet, you can use a towel to connect them.
- Align your neck, head, and spine in a single line at you look straight ahead.
- Breathe in while you push your chest towards the air and put your hands towards the ground.
- Inhale deeply then hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Relax your body and release a few exhales.
- Repeat this exercise for at least 10 times.
This pose aids in relieving your body pains and stiffness while boosting your glutes, shoulders, and hamstrings flexibility. It also strengthens your back and balance to further improve your posture. Try it:
- Get down on your hands and feet then straighten up your legs, push up your heels, and lift your hips.
- Make sure your back is straightened and engage your arms, legs, and abdominal muscles.
- Elongate the back of your neck, relax your throat muscles, and gaze down the floor.
- Maintain your chest open and put your shoulders straight back.
- Keep this position for at least one minute per rep.
That’s it! Just incorporate these simple exercises even during your work breaks and see the difference it makes on how to fix bad posture fast.