Healthy posture is important for your well-being, but achieving it can be an uphill battle in a high-tech, high-heeled world, experts say.
“People who have better posture tend to appear more confident and knowledgeable to others. It makes them feel confident internally as well,” said Alynn Kakuk, a physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program in Rochester, Minn.
Simple exercises and stretching can help your posture, she said.
One way to practice healthy posture is to stand with your upper back, shoulders and bottom touching the wall, with your feet a couple of inches away from the wall, she said in a Mayo news release.
There should be a slight space between your lower back and the wall, just large enough to fit your hands. Then, step away from the wall and try to see if you can maintain that posture.
It’s also important to remember that strengthening your muscles will make it easier for you to maintain that healthy posture, Kakuk noted.
Frequent use of cellphones and keyboards can sabotage posture and place stress on the upper back and neck, leading to rounded shoulders and a lowered head. Try to keep your cellphone at eye level so that you’re not bending forward, she suggested. Also, do exercises that strengthen your upper back and shoulders, such as chest exercises that strengthen your pectoral muscles and diaphragm-centered breathing techniques that release tension, she added.
Her other advice? Place your keyboard at elbow height, so your hands can rest on the desk. Position computer screens and laptops at eye level. Set your chair so that your feet touch the floor.
Take a walk or stretch break every hour.
High heels also threaten good posture. When wearing high heels, draw in your abdominal muscles to prevent an extra curve in your low back. Ideally, you should try to limit use of high heels, Kakuk said. And when you do wear them, choose heels that are smaller and have a wider surface area, which will help distribute your foot and weight better.
Kakuk said maintaining good posture can help you walk, sit, stand and lie in positions that cause the least stress on your muscles and ligaments.
The American Chiropractic Association offers tips for good posture.