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Learning Posture the Right Way: A Guide to the Natural Curvature of the Spine

Good posture is more important than you know.

Everyone is aware of posture. When you were young, some adult in your life likely reminded you to stand up straight on a regular basis. You know that good posture makes you look stronger, healthier, more confident, and more attractive, but despite that, you probably don't give it much thought now that you are grown.

However, you're doing yourself a disservice by putting posture on the back burner in your mind. Giving proper support and attention to the natural curvature of the spine is crucial and good posture offers many health benefits.

Although we learn posture when we are very young, that doesn't mean we are stuck with bad posture for life. There are many things you can do to improve your posture, and if you stick to it, you'll soon begin to see and feel the benefits.

Why Posture Is Important

There are many reasons that posture matters. When we stand correctly, we balance our weight over our feet. Keeping our weight in the center allows us to move the rest of our body properly and with ease, and as a result, we will experience fewer injuries as we go through life. 

In some cases, bad posture is just a bad habit. In other cases, however, it may be caused by tight muscles, overcompensation for past injuries, or other physical issues. However, when it comes to attaining great posture, even these obstacles can be overcome.

Health Benefits of Good Posture

Good posture brings with it many health benefits. If your body hurts or aches when you are awake or asleep, chances are that you can at least correct some of your problems with an improvement in posture.

Many people experience lower back pain. Unless you have been in an accident of some sort, it's likely that your lower back pain is caused by poor posture. Slouching puts pressure on many areas of the back and weakens the muscles that hold you upright. Standing and sitting up straight will strengthen these muscles and give your upper body better support.

Poor posture can also cause tension headaches. If you are not standing and sitting properly, you are stretching your neck muscles in a detrimental way. These muscles continue upwards and can result in painful headaches. Many people find that these headaches disappear after they adjust their posture.

Believe it or not, proper posture can give you energy, too. When your body is in alignment, movement is easier, and it will take your body a longer period of time to wear out when exercising or even when living your regular, everyday life.

You'll also find that when you have good posture that you breathe better, that you digest food better, and that you injure yourself less frequently. All of these benefits make it clear that improving your posture is absolutely something upon which you should focus your time and energy.

What Is Good Posture?

Even though you've heard the term "good posture" since you were very small, you may not truly know what good posture is. Yes, good posture means your weight is balanced over your feet, but how is this achieved?

Starting from the floor, your feet should be pointed straight ahead and your knees should be even, with an equal amount of weight on each foot. Your abdominal muscles should be tight, and your arms should rest at your sides.

You should focus on the natural curvature of the spine; don't flex or arch to overemphasize the curve, but be aware of it and keep it in a neutral position. Your shoulders should be neutral, back, and even, and your chin should be parallel to the floor.

When you think of each of these directions and try to achieve them all at once, it may seem overwhelming at first. But, with proper practice and slow focus on each of these points, in time you should be able to develop and maintain great posture that will last a lifetime. 

The Three Parts of the Spine

Your spine has three natural curves and for optimum posture, you must be aware of all three and do what you can to allow them to support you as they were designed.

The main and middle part of your back is the thoracic curve. This curve is located in the middle of your back from the shoulder area down to the abs. It curves outward and supports your torso, but it's also the area most affected by slouch.

The upper part of your spine curves inward and is called the cervical curve. This part consists of your upper vertebrae and supports your skull. This part of the spine suffers if you spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen or your cell phone.

Finally, the bottom of your spine, the lumbar curve, also curves inward and stretches from your abs to the base of your spine. This is the area in which you will experience lower back pain if you are not careful and conscious. 

Focus on the Natural Curvature of the Spine: How to Correct Your Posture

Posture is important when you standing and when you are sitting. When you are standing, you should pull your stomach in, keep your weight on the balls of your feet, keep your head level, and stand up straight and tall without leaning forward or backward. If you have been slouching for most of your life, then this will take some practice and getting used to, but you can make the change in time.

When you're sitting, take a few moments to set up your work station or to check to see if the chair is right for you. Make sure that your feet touch the floor, and keep your elbows in tight to your body when typing. Your arms should be perpendicular to your body as if you were about to give a handshake. Make sure that your back, thighs, and hips are fully supported. Don't cross your legs or you will be sitting unevenly. Take breaks and stretch whenever you can.

To help improve your posture overall, the best advice is to be mindful. Try to think about how you are sitting or standing every few minutes and adjust. If you need to set reminders on your phone to help stay on track, do so. In time, you won't need them anymore as better posture becomes a habit.

You can also support your posture by maintaining a healthy weight and by working to strengthen your muscles. Yoga is a great way to improve your posture while also investing in the fitness of your body and mind. Wearing comfortable shoes that fit you can also aid in posture improvement.  

Invest In Your Posture 

Giving support to the natural curvature of the spine is so important and improving your posture may lead to the dissolution of your back and neck problems if you take the time to make a change.

However, if you have tried the above and still find that you suffer from occasional or chronic pain, it might be time to visit a chiropractor. If you're located in central New Jersey, we would love to help you out. Please give us a call today. We can't wait to meet you.