Standing and sitting properly is vital to leading a happier, healthier life.
As well as helping your back, good posture boosts circulation, reducing the risk of deadly blood clots.
It aids your digestive system – a big plus for weight loss. Strike the right pose and you can even look younger
Hunch all is not right
The American Physical Therapy Association has easy ways you can check your posture.
Stand with your back to a wall and heels three inches from it. Put one hand flat against the back of your neck, with the back of the hand against the wall. Place your other hand against your lower back, palm facing the wall.
If you can easily move your hands forward and backward more than an inch, you may need to adjust your posture to restore the spine’s curves.
Now stand in front of a full-length mirror. Hold your head straight. Are your shoulders even? Are the spaces between your arms and sides equal? Hips level? Knees should point straight ahead. Locking the knees can injure them, causing lower back pain.
Your ankles should also be straight – if they roll in, weight will fall on the inside of your feet, causing foot and ankle pain and poor alignment that can affect the knees, hips, and back.
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Use imagery: Think of a straight line passing through your body from ceiling to floor – ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should be even.
Imagine a cord attached to your breastbone is pulling your chest upward, making you taller. Try to hold your pelvis level.
Think of stretching your head to the ceiling.
Chin tuck: Sit in a chair with feet flat on the floor. Keep shoulders relaxed and down. Hold your head upright. Pull your chin in toward your neck– hold for five, then relax. Repeat ten times.
Shoulder blade squeeze Sit up straight in a chair, hands on your thighs. Keep your shoulders down and your chin level.
Slowly draw shoulders back and squeeze shoulder blades together. Hold for a count of five, then relax. Repeat four times.
AB pull-in: Stand or sit. Inhale then exhale slowly to a count of five, pulling lower abdominal muscles up and in, as if moving belly button to your backbone. Relax. Repeat a few times.
Upper-body stretch: Stand facing a corner with your arms raised, hands flat against walls, elbows at shoulder height. Place one foot ahead of the other.
Bending your forward knee, exhale as you lean your body toward the corner. Keep your back straight and chest and head up. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
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