5 Easy Tips That Will Improve Your Posture

Remember your parent or a schoolteacher telling you to sit up straight and don't slouch? Well, it's all for a good reason. Taking care of your spine is as essential as taking care of your heart or lungs, eyes, legs and skin. A healthy spine, from your back up to your neck, will lead to better posture. It will also reduce the chances of recurring back pain or more severe spine issues such as slipped discs. 

5 Easy Tips That Will Improve Your Posture
[image: pexels by miriam alonso]

What does it take to improve the overall health of your spine? You'd be surprised that it takes nothing more than practicing better posture. It's all about optimizing your body mechanics, such as moving, holding yourself, sitting, and doing daily tasks without causing strain. Visiting a physiotherapy specialist like Alpha Health Services will also do wonders for your health.

Here are five spine-healthy practices to incorporate into your daily life: 

Rest, rest and rest

The spine does plenty of heavy lifting daily, which means it also needs loads of rest. When you are lying down in bed or on your couch, it means that your spine finally has the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate. When putting your body down to sleep, here are some relaxing tips to consider:

• Use a firm or medium-firm mattress as it will give you enough support for your spine. Sagging mattresses only result in body ache. A good and firm mattress will provide the best support.

• Keep your spine naturally aligned while sleeping. For those who often sleep on their back, a pillow placed under the knees will reduce stress on the lower back. If you are a side sleeper, place the pillow between the knees to keep your hips balanced. 

You can and should try different sleeping and pillow positions to see which fits you best to give you a good night's sleep. Remember, the only time your spine is resting is when you lie down. 

Strengthen your core

Your core muscles are located in the lower abdomen and lower back. Strengthening your core muscles have benefits for both your abs and your back. The more core exercises you do, the more toned your abs will be. Simultaneously, you will also create excellent support for your back. When you work your core muscles, you're also providing support for your back, and a strong core removes the pressure from your lower back. 

Core muscles need to be toned through specific and targeted exercises such as crunches, bird dogs, oblique twists and planks. Incorporating yoga positions such as cobra and cat-cow poses also helps with strengthening these specific muscles.

Changing your footwear

Shoes play a vital role in supporting your feet, thighs and lower back. Wearing inappropriate footwear for walking, running or just doing daily activities can result in injury. Suitable footwear provides a base that supports and helps the body and spine align well. Footwear should not be overly tight or too loose. 

If you find yourself having back issues all the time, speak to a spine specialist, orthopedist or your general doctor to get a good assessment of your spine health. Sometimes, the problem could be your footwear, and in such cases, the doctor may prescribe you to wear shoe orthotics to encourage better balance and support. 

Massage your muscles

File this under relaxation! A good back massage once in a while comes with tons of therapeutic benefits. Not only does it make you feel relaxed, but a good massage also increases blood flow, loosens muscles, and it also boosts connective tissue movement. A moderate level massage will give you stress-relief benefits too. 

You can also perform some back massages on your own if you feel like your muscles are tight- simply rubbing your shoulders or massaging your back with your hands is a great way to improve circulation. 

Practice good ergonomics

Did you know that the discs in your lower spine experience more pressure while you sit compared to when you're standing? Long periods of sitting can aggravate a painful back and increase the strain on your lumbar discs. It also increases the tendency to slouch and lean forward. If you find yourself sitting at your desk and looking at your computer screen for hours, make it a point to stand and stretch every few hours. 

You can also try standing up and working at your desk or pacing up and down while you're on the phone. Moving helps keep the spine healthy and fuels the movement of beneficial nutrients to the hone. Investing in an office chair and desk that comes with good ergonomics also helps in encouraging a good posture and supporting the natural curves of your spine. 

As mentioned earlier, these tips are all simple and easy ways to incorporate good spine habits into your daily routine. They are all minor tweaks you need to make in your day to ensure a healthy back and spine. 

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