Throughout your life, you have probably been taught that good posture is essential to your health. How many times have you had someone tell you to stand or sit up straight? Probably too many to count.
Good posture has many benefits to your overall health. It can help relieve, or even prevent, neck and back pain. Good posture also greatly minimizes the likelihood of needing spine surgery.
What Is Good Posture?
In general, good posture means you’re keeping your body evenly balanced and aligned. Below is a checklist of what good posture entails, from your head to your feet.
- Head facing forward with your chin parallel to the floor
- Even shoulders
- Neutral spine (allowing your spine to maintain its natural curves)
- Arms by your side
- Even hips
- Feet pointing forward with weight evenly distributed
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Checking Your Posture
While that checklist is great, the problem is that the general population doesn’t know what good posture feels like. Often people are so stuck in their poor posture habits, they don’t even realize their shoulders are slumped or they’re overemphasizing the curve of their lower back. Use the steps below to discover what good posture really feels like.
- Stand up straight with your hands at your sides. Slowly begin to arch your back, causing your stomach muscles to elongate. Gently focus on drawing your belly button into your spine. You should feel like your lower back, upper torso, and shoulders are all in alignment over your heels.
- Now, rotate your shoulders so that your thumbs are facing away from your body while simultaneously drawing your shoulder blades together.
- Relax the muscles in your neck and look up until your ears align with your shoulders. It is important to relax your jaw and breathe deeply through your mouth and nose.
How do you feel? Let us boil down the feeling of good posture to a snippet you will be able to remember: With your stomach and lower back muscles elongated, you can feel the strong muscles between your shoulder blades and their supporting neck muscles.
If this feeling is familiar – congratulations! You have likely been practicing good posture for a while now. If not, you may want to run through this exercise several times a day to try to make good posture a habit.
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