People with good posture are often healthier, more confident and more comfortable than people with poor posture. Fixing posture begins with an awareness of what good posture feels like and having proper ergonomic equipment. People can exercise to develop better posture or engage in strength training to improve muscles in core areas that are responsible for good posture. In extreme cases, medical or chiropractic intervention may be key to fixing posture.
Proper posture feels good. People with good posture breathe more comfortably, and they experience more energy and less pain in the back and neck. Proper posture also is slimming and can make one appear taller. This has the added benefit of improving confidence. Posture checks throughout the day can help people adjust poor posture, but fixing posture takes time and training.
When standing, the hips should be directly over the feet and the shoulders should be directly over the hips. This pose is comfortable and well balanced. When sitting, the back should be straight with the head over the hips, the feet flat on the floor and the knees should be at about the same level as the hips. A comfortable high-backed chair can help improve posture.
The right tools can be very helpful in fixing posture. Shoes, for instance, should fit well and be supportive. The hips, back, and neck can be thrown out of line when compensating for discomfort in the feet, ankles and knees. A firm yet comfortable mattress can also help posture, and it is best to sleep on the back or side with appropriate lumbar support.
Many people spend a good portion of their days sitting at desks or working on computers. Even people with good standing postures can suffer when sitting for long periods of time. Good office chairs allow users to sit up straight with their feet planted on the floor. The desk should be at such a height that writing or typing does not cause a strain on the arms or shoulders. A computer screen also should be positioned so the user can look straight at it without tilting the head.
Some exercises help with balance and can be used as tools for fixing posture. Yoga, for example, helps to train muscles by holding poses for sustained periods. Likewise, Tai Chi requires a posture that lifts the head, curves the back, and lowers the shoulders to align the body. This posture can be transferred to every day activities once it has been mastered. Pilates is also an excellent exercise technique for fixing posture. This type of exercise strengthens core muscles in the body that help to maintain proper alignment.
Training the core muscle groups is another technique for fixing posture. It can be difficult to sit or stand up straight with weak back or abdominal muscles. Simple core exercises such as crunches, push-ups or squats require no special equipment. Free weights and weight machines can also be used when fixing posture. Poor posture during exercise can add to back problems, so most fitness centers offer training services to teach patrons how to execute exercises correctly.
Fixing posture may require professional intervention for some people. People should bring back and neck pain to the attention of their doctors. Anti-inflammatory medications or back braces may be prescribed to help promote good posture. A chiropractor also can help to realign the back, hips, and neck if proper posture is painful. A serious injury or genetic abnormality that affects posture may require surgery.