Many of us – myself included – have been slouching a lot more than usual during lockdown. More time sitting down in front of screens or reading may have left us with hunched shoulders. Walking is good for our backs and reminds up to stand up tall. Unfortunately, being housebound has meant many of us miss this reminder and are prioritising comfort over good posture.
Not only does good posture look better, but it’s also better for your spine and health. Slouching puts strain on your bones, muscles and joints. It crushes your internal organs together, making it more difficult for your lungs and intestines to function properly. Slouching for a long period of time can, therefore, make it more difficult to breathe and digest food.
Avoid ‘text neck’
You may not have heard of the term before, but you’ve probably done it. Text neck is the hunch and strain you get in your neck from looking down at your phone all day. Rather than straining your spine to look down at your phone, raise the phone to eye level.
How to sleep
If you sleep on your side, bend your knees slightly, but don’t raise them up towards your chest. Place a pillow under your head so it’s level with your spine. If you sleep on your back, opt for a thinner pillow so your head it’s lifted too high compared to your spine. When shopping for a mattress, opt for a firm mattress that will support your spine, as opposed to a soft one that allows your spine to sag.
How to stand
To get better posture, stand up tall. Pretend you are standing against a wall to measure your height, lengthening out your spine. Squeeze your shoulders back, tuck in your belly and backside and hold your head up straight. Your chin should be tucked in and your ears should be above your shoulders.
How to sit
When sitting at a desk or table, the temptation to slouch can be great. But maintaining good posture while sitting is essential to correct your spine and banish the slouch.
Sit with your back flat against the back of your chair with your shoulder blades tucked in towards one another. Have your feet flat on the floor and your legs at a 90-degree angle. If you have a small cushion or a rolled-up towel, place it between the chair and the natural curve of your back. This will help to keep your posture natural, and also remind you to sit up.
How to drive
Reclining your seat may be a more comfortable way to drive, but it’s worse for your spine. Instead, bring your seat up close to the steering wheel, and rest a rolled towel or cushion behind the curve of your spine to support your back. Your knees should be bent and at hip level or a little above.
How to prevent a slouch
The muscles around your spine and your deep ab muscles work together to support your spine. A balanced workout plan that incorporates activities such as weight training and yoga to strengthen both deep and surface muscles is important.
Carrying extra weight around your belly and torso can put additional strain on your spine. So, maintaining a healthy weight can help both your joint and bone health, and also help to improve your posture.
Have you found yourself slouching during lockdown? What have you been doing to try and correct your posture?
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Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.