Your parents were right; pull your shoulders back and sit up straight!
Good posture can lower your chances of getting injured, and it can decrease chance of headaches. I personally feel better when I sit upright and my neck and head usually thanks me later in the day (no headaches!). But what exactly is good posture? Let’s have a look.
The goal of good posture is to keep your body in its most neutral “natural” position. The first thing to think about is your spine. A neutral spine has a light “S” shape. To maintain the “S” shape, you don’t want to be slouching forward, but also not bent backwards. Think of having your head sitting on top of your shoulders (not in front of them), your chest slightly out, and your abdominal muscles lightly engaged.
It’s easy to get rounded shoulders. Many life activities like driving, computer work, or texting lead you to round your shoulders. Picture your shoulders in line with your chest. Practise doing this by squeezing your shoulder blades together a few times and stretching your chest muscles.
Your Hips (Pelvis)
Sometimes your muscles get tight from sitting too much, and this can pull your pelvis forward so it rotates towards the back. In other words, your rear end sticks out. Fix this by engaging your core muscles, stretching your hip flexors and avoiding sitting for long periods of time.
Remember your spine when carrying a backpack, large shoulder bag or purse. Make sure you limit the weight and pack it close to your body.
Working on good posture is an ongoing process. Being mindful of your posture can make a difference in reducing the odds of back pain over the long run.
HealthLinkBC: Proper Back Posture (Neutral Spine)
Canadian Chiropractic Association: Posture Perfect
Harvard Health Publications: 4 Ways to Turn into Less Back Pain
Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety: Good Body Position