While a lot of people could definitely improve their posture, you might think that it’s going to be a hard and arduous journey to a straighter spine. However, it can be the small things that you might not notice that are actually causing your bad posture. Luckily, once you notice these behaviors, it becomes very easy to change and adapt, and improve your posture.
Here are some of the ways you could be hurting your posture, without even realizing it.
The first is an obvious one - if you slouch often, you will hurt your posture. You may think you don’t slouch often, but try to keep your posture straight whenever you’re sat down. You may have this cracked during the workday, when you’re alert and on the ball - but have you noticed if you slouch sat on the couch at home, or when you’re driving in the car, or commuting on a bus or a train? When you’re feeling relaxed, this can have a sedation effect on your muscles, leading to increased slouching - and bad posture!
No, not just speaking on the phone, but the way you hold your phone could be the cause of posture problems. If you’re prone to holding your phone between your shoulder and your ear, especially if you’re going ‘hands-free’, this can actually have an adverse effect on your posture. This is because you’re twisting your head and neck down towards your shoulders for a long time. If you can, use headphones or a loudspeaker so you don’t hurt your posture while you talk on the phone.
Shouldering the Burden
We all have a preferred side to carry bags and other items on. Unfortunately, that shoulder preference can pave the way for bad posture, as well as back pain and headaches - especially if you carry a heavy bag. You might carry everything on one shoulder as a habit, and you don’t even realize it. To fix the issues this might be causing on your posture, try to switch sides, and spread the load.
Wearing High Heels
Many people love wearing high heels, for the added height, or even for an extra confidence boost! However, wearing high heels can affect the way that you stand, as well as the way that you walk. This is because wearing high heels can cause your spine to sway in a way that isn’t natural for our bodies. If you can’t put away the high heels just yet, try to stretch your calves to counteract the damage done by wearing them.
Crossing Your Legs
It might be second nature to cross your legs when you sit down, at work, at home, on the train - but actually, the placement of your legs when you sit can have a really big impact on your posture. It’s super common to cross your legs when you sit down, but this should be avoided to keep good posture. By crossing your legs when you sit down, you can actually tilt your pelvis, which can cause bad posture, as well as causing a sore lower back.
Sleeping on Your Front
While sleeping on your front may be comfy - it is actually hurting your posture. Sleeping on your stomach can put undue stress on your spine, which makes your posture worse. This is because when you sleep on your front, and not your back or side, your spine can’t be in a neutral position. This puts all your weight at your center and hurts your spine.
Looking at Your Phone
This is a common reason in the 21st century for bad posture. Everyone stares at their phone from time to time, our mobiles have become the way we stay connected to the outside world. But they also might be a cause of bad posture. There’s even a word for it ‘text neck’. When you bend your neck forwards to look at your phone, the excessive bending of your neck, especially when you do it for a long time, can put a huge strain on the ligaments in your neck. And if your neck is out of alignment, it adds extra weight to your spine - making your posture even worse!
Tightness in Your Muscles
This one is for all the gym bunnies out there. All that moving, bending and exercising can cause tightness in your muscles, and if you aren’t taking the time to properly stretch out, they can become even tighter. Tight muscles can even be caused by normal day to day activities, like sitting down! If you don’t stretch properly, you can cause back pain and bad posture as your other muscles work overtime to compensate for the tight areas.
You may pay close attention to your alignment in yoga class, or while you work out, but do you notice what your body is doing in your day to day activities? While you’re walking around your house, or picking something up, are you in proper alignment? If you’re not aware of your alignment, you may be slipping into poor alignment, which can cause stress on the spine and cause bad posture. Luckily, this one is an easy fix. Try to notice what your body is doing, and remember the correct alignments as you do your day to day tasks.
You may just be comfortable when you have bad posture, and not want to move. You’re actually comfy because your body has already adapted to this bad posture. Try to correct your posture, even when it’s uncomfortable, and your body will soon get used to the correct posture!
By Amy Cavill
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