With a few exceptions, most of us will spend the majority of our time either sitting or standing. Both of these actions come naturally to us, so it might come as a surprise to know that there are, in fact, wrong ways to do these simple tasks.
Multiple studies, including this one, have found that bad standing and sitting postures cause pain in our muscles, connective tissues, joints, and ligaments. Poor posture can also lead to long-term, irreversible damage. According to the American Chiropractic Association, good posture keeps our bones and joints correctly aligned and ensures we use our muscle properly. It also helps our muscles work more efficiently, reducing the amount of energy our bodies use and helping prevent muscle fatigue.
In this post, we will offer a few tips for improving your posture while both sitting and standing to ensure that you aren’t putting any unnecessary strain on your body and causing more serious problems later on.
How to Stand Properly
In the video below we will learn how to stand properly by aligning five landmarks on the human body: The ear, the centre of the shoulder, the outside of the hip bone, the centre of the knee and the ankle bone.
How we stand affects many different parts of our body including our hips, legs, back, shoulders and neck. Though correcting our standing posture is a whole body exercise it helps to break it down by body part:
You should keep your feet parallel to each other. Turning your feet outwards or inwards puts a lot of strain on your hips. You should also shift your weight so it primarily sits on the balls of your feet. You should also try and keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
If you have been standing for a long time shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or from one foot to the other.
Keep your knees slightly bent and relaxed, as opposed to locking them.
Unless you are engaged in a task that requires your hands you should let your arms hang naturally by your sides.
Tuck your stomach in
Tilt your pelvis forward slightly, doing your best to keep your hips straight up and down. Do not stick out your bottom.
Stand straight and tall, pushing your shoulders backward.
Neck and Head
Keep your head level. Your earlobes should be in line with your shoulders. Avoid pushing your head forwards, backward or to the side.
How to Sit Properly
In this video we will learn how to sit properly:
How we sit affects our body in a variety of ways as well, so it is important to be conscious of how we are sitting. Let’s break it down by body part:
Put your feet out in front of you and keep them parallel, just like when you are standing
Relax your legs. This reduces strain on your knees and leg muscles. Do not cross your legs. Crossing your legs cuts off circulation to your feet and lower legs and messes with your body’s symmetry.
Bottom and Hips
Shift your bottom so that your weight is on your “sitz bones”, which are the two protruding bits on the underside of your pelvis. Avoid putting weight on your tailbone
Relax your stomach. Keeping it tense shifts how your other muscles sit, creating strain.
Relax and let the back of your chair hold you. Let the chair do the work instead of your back muscles. This will keep your muscles from getting tired, and reduce the likelihood of you slowly shifting into a slouch.
Relax your shoulders, letting them gently fall back and down. If you are working at a desk adjust the distance between your chair and the desk so that you can still work while your shoulders are relaxed
Neck and Head
Keep your neck straight and your head level. If you work at a computer adjust the height of your monitor so that you can look at it straight on.
Good posture is integral to your body’s overall health. When sitting or standing it is important to maintain good posture to avoid unnecessary strain on your back. Good posture is the first step towards staying fit and healthy, as it allows you to start any exercise routine with a solid foundation.
Do you experience back and neck pain? Have you noticed that you tend to slouch as you go about your daily routine? The professionals at Clearview Physiotherapy can help. We pride ourselves on creating individualized treatments to suit your unique needs. To book a consultation appointment please e-mail or call our offices at (403) 217 – 0349.