Bad habits of poor posture are a common cause for lower and upper back pain. If your back hurts too and you want to prevent any future long-term injuries, you can start with some simple corrective exercises to improve the way you sit, stand, and walk. And don’t worry, mastering a good posture doesn’t have to take a lot of time. In fact, it’s often just about being aware of your posture and making sure you don’t slouch in a chair or hunch your back when looking at your phone.
1. Have a specialist tape an “X” on your back.
In the medical world this is, not surprisingly, called “posture taping,” and it’s a common tool used to hold the body in the right position and create awareness of slouching during the day. The cross or “X” form in the figure should be applied when the shoulders are slightly bent backward. If done correctly, this should prevent you from slouching during the day.
2. Keep your feet flat on the ground while sitting.
Many people spend most of the day in a seated position, which makes having a correct sitting posture even more important. It’s crucial that you distribute your weight evenly across your hips and feet. You can do this by bending your knees at a right angle and putting your feet flat on the ground. If your feet can’t reach the ground, you can use a book or purchase a footrest.
3. Support your lower back with a rolled-up towel to prevent slouching.
One of the common causes of lower back pain is sitting in a slouched position. Luckily, you can adjust your sitting position easily with the help of a so-called ’”lumbar support device,” for which you can use something as simple as a rolled-up towel. The main point here is that the device you use should be supportive and placed in the small of your back to help support your lumbar spine’s natural forward curve.
4. Put a post-it with a stick figure in your sight to be reminded of your posture.
Postural awareness is very important in the process of adapting a healthy posture in your everyday life. To make yourself think about your posture (before your back starts to hurt) during the day, you can start with something as simple as drawing a stick figure on a post-it and putting it on your computer screen to give yourself a quick reminder to sit up straight.
5. Associate a posture-check with something you do regularly.
Taking a quick look at your phone, having a sip of water, or reading a Bright Side article are all things you probably do multiple times a day. To create more postural awareness, you can teach yourself to ask the question: “Am I sitting correctly?” You should do this every time you are performing your chosen regular activity.
6. Before you start driving, first sit up straight and then adjust your back mirror accordingly.
Before you start driving, you have to adjust your rearview mirror in such a way that you can easily see the road behind you. Try to sit up straight before making these adjustments so that you’re forced to have good posture while driving in order to see behind you. Be aware that seeing the road at a quick glance is the most important thing, so only make small adjustments when needed.
7. Keep your hands in your back pockets when you’re just standing around.
When standing up, good posture is called “standing tall.” If you’re more used to having your shoulders going inward and the upper back leaning forward, there are some easy exercises to quickly change this habit. For instance, by putting your hands in your back pockets, you force your shoulders to open up and you will stand up straighter immediately.
8. Walk like you’re wearing a cape — and with confidence!
For maintaining good posture while walking, you should focus on elongating your spine. Slouching or leaning forward can put stress on your back muscles, which can start to hurt after a while. One tip is to walk like you’re wearing a cape (or wear a cape for real). This will definitely keep your back straight and your head up high. Another trick is to imagine your head being pulled up by an invisible string that’s attached to the ceiling.
9. Walk while taking calls.
Mobile phones are meant to be used away from your desk or couch, so this can be the perfect opportunity for you to give yourself a quick break from the position you’ve been working in. Make an incoming call your “go moment” to get up and take a quick stroll. Staying active is said to help at maintaining good posture throughout the day.
10. Tuck your chin in — where the head goes, the body follows.
The head’s position says a lot about the general posture of your body. You should be continually working to align your body under your head. This might sound complicated, but an easy trick is to keep your chin tucked in and your head pulled back. It’s kind of like imagining a string pulling the top of your head toward the sky so your entire body and neck stay nice and lengthened.
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