What are the effects of your lifestyle on your posture?
How you carry yourself throughout every moment of the day adds up, and can make the difference between a pain-free, strong body and a body full of aches and pains. Your body starts to mold, adapt, and compensate for all of your less-than-ideal habits when it comes to posture. You may go to a yoga class and spend an hour very conscious of your alignment, which is great, but all of those other hours during the week maintaining bad alignment certainly add up too. Here are some of the most common times when people lose good posture alignment:
While sleeping: Have you ever woken up with tightness or kinks? You should wake up feeling rested and renewed! Choose a firm mattress which supports your spine, and try not to use too poofy of a pillow (it will just raise your neck at a strange angle, not in alignment with your spine). If possible, try not to sleep on your stomach, as it can put undue pressure on your unsupported back.
While driving: Make sure to adjust your seat so that you can reach the pedals without stretching or crowding. Arrange your headrest so that you can rest your head and neck upon it – that’s what it is there for. Place a small towel or lumbar roll in between your low back and the seat to help support your low back. Catch yourself if you have the tendency to lean forward while driving, as this causes strain on your neck. And make sure to give yourself permission to take lots of breaks where you can get out, walk, and stretch.
Carrying heavy bags: Most of us end up carrying our groceries or other bags on our dominant side, which can lead to imbalances. Instead, split up groceries into two evenly weighted bags, and carry one in each hand. With a backpack, take the time to place the straps on both shoulders – no slinging the bag over just one!
At the computer: Invest in a good, supportive chair. Position your monitor so that it is at eye level, so you don’t have to look down or up. Keep your feet flat on the floor, with your weight distributed evenly over both hips. Good posture isn’t just for a computer monitor – while texting, try to have just your eyes look down at your screen, not your whole head, which strains your neck.
Bad posture can lead to all sorts of aches and pains, including back pain, neck pain, tension headaches, and diminished breathing. It also makes you look years older than what you are!
Chiropractic care is an important part of correcting bad habits and maintaining good posture. It is non-invasive, gentle, yet is a powerful tool to help align your body’s framework. When the vertebrae are misaligned, this can disrupt neurological communications between your brain and the cells, tissues, and organs. Your muscles and ligaments also do not have a good chance of being aligned if the framework that they are on is messed up!
So take the time to align. Your present self will enjoy the release of tension and the integration you will feel, and I promise that your future, older self with thank you greatly for the foresight and care.