A more posture-friendly lifestyle

When you're sleeping
A firmer mattress supports your spine, and a well-placed pillow cradles your neck and head while you dream. Your choice of sleeping position will depend upon individual comfort, but strive to situate yourself in a way that maintains your back's natural curve. This might mean placing a pillow under your knees or a lumbar roll beneath your lower back if you're a back-sleeper, or placing a pillow between your legs if you're a side-snoozer. And tummy time may work for babies, but stomach sleeping can strain your back and neck. Make getting out of bed easier on your back by first pulling your knees up and swinging your legs off the side of the bed. Push yourself up with your hands and don't bend forward from the waist.

When you're driving
Maintaining proper sitting posture when you're driving becomes especially important if you're driving long distances or stuck in commuter traffic. Place a lumbar roll, small rectangular pillow, or rolled-up towel to support your lower back. Adjust your seat so that your feet comfortably reach the pedals without crowding or stretching. If possible, position your headrest to cradle the middle of your head and encourage proper posture. Catch and correct yourself if you lean forward too far or jut your chin out, as this puts undue stress on your neck.

When you're carrying something
Toting one big bag can throw your weight off-kilter and compromise proper posture. Splitting your parcels in to two smaller bags – one for each hand – would be more balanced. Backpacks should be carried on both shoulders and should be no more than 10% of a person's body weight. Keep objects you carry close to your body.

When you're texting
Whether you're standing or sitting when you're tapping out a message on a tiny PDA screen, try to maintain proper, non-hunched posture. Keep your head over your shoulders with your chin slightly tucked, your eyes looking down rather than your head. Reduce tension on your neck by resting your forearms on a pillow.

When you look at a computer monitor
Position your monitor at a comfortable distance for your vision and so the top sits just below your eye level. If you notice yourself straining to see at a normal distance, consider changing the text size setting on your monitor or having your eyes checked.

When you use a mouse
Arrange your mouse so it stays close to your keyboard. Apply a light, natural touch to your mouse, your fingers loose, your wrist in a neutral position, your whole arm moving with the mouse.

When you type on a keyboard
Place your keyboard in the flat, rather than up-tilted position, just far enough away from your body that your elbows stay at about a 90-degree or greater angle. Type with curved fingers, neutral and relaxed wrists, and forearms parallel to the ground. Allow your whole arm to move rather than stretching your fingers to reach keys.

A few more random posture tips:

  • Get up and move. Avoid sitting or standing in a static position for more than 20 minutes. Take breaks, stretch, or go for a quick walk. Even just a jaunt to get some water makes a difference.

  • Sit in a swivel chair. If you must turn to look at something or someone while sitting, swivel chairs let you turn your chair rather than twisting your body.

  • Wear comfy shoes. High-heeled or ill-fitting shoes can throw off your body's center of gravity and affect your postural alignment.

  • Be your own posture pal. Set up periodic alerts on your computer or post up sticky notes to remind yourself to check your posture. Or else, enlist a friend to give you posture cues when they notice you're slouching.

  • Women: strengthen your support system. Ill-fitted bras can trigger muscle tightness and aches and pains, while a well-fitted one provides support and lifts the breasts, which might make it easier to maintain proper posture.

  • Strengthen your core. Exercise that involve stretching and strengthening – like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi – may help bolster your abdominal and lower back muscles, lending support to your posture habits.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Why-Good-Posture-Matters