Most of us were told by our parents to sit up straight, walk properly, or don’t slouch, and most of us did our very best to ignore their advice, but poor posture isn’t just a matter of how we look, it can also have a long lasting, detrimental effect on our muscles and our spine. If you often get back aches, neck aches, or just feel stiff, then that could all be down to your posture. Bad posture can even restrict the flow of blood around your body and make you feel tired, so read these ten common posture mistakes that you might be making and should be avoiding.
1. Hunching over a computer
Many people adopt a poor posture when they are using their computers and they could be sitting like that for hours on end. Try and position the computer monitor at eye level and sit upright as you type. If you hunch over your keyboard for too long, it will cause neck and back pain and, eventually, it will weaken the muscles in your upper back and cause you to have a hunched back.
2. Slouching in a chair
When you sit down in a chair, your back should be straight and your feet planted firmly on the floor. If you slouch in your chair, with your back unsupported, it will cause lower back pain, because it is putting a strain on your spine. Correcting your seating position might feel uncomfortable at first because you are not used to it, but persevere, because it will save you a lot of pain when you get a bit older.
3. Slouching while driving
Make sure that the seat in your car is adjusted so that you can sit upright properly when driving. When you sit in a car, or on a train, the vibration of the engine makes your muscles relax and that makes the effects of slouching even worse. That’s part of the reason why you feel so stiff and tired when get out of your car after a long journey.
When you bend down to pick something up, or even just bending over the sink to clean your teeth, you should bend at the hips and not bend your back. The muscles around your hips are some of the strongest that you have in your body, so use them to do your bending and you will keep your back in its proper position.
5. Holding your phone between your neck and your shoulder
Cradling your phone between your shoulder and neck might be great for multi-tasking, but it’s going to put a strain in your neck muscles, your upper back, and your shoulders. Over time, if you continue to do this, the strain that you are putting on your muscles will lead to an imbalance between one side of your neck and the other.
6. Sitting in the same place for too long
Our bodies were not designed for sitting still for long periods of time, we are designed for movement. Even if you adopt a good sitting posture, you should still take frequent breaks and get up to walk around for a while.
7. Placing your weight on one leg
If you have been standing for some time, it might feel more comfortable to lean all your weight onto one leg or, hang in one hip, as it is sometimes called. If you do this too often, you will put too much pressure on just one side of your lower back and in one hip. You should try to stand with your weight evenly spread, or you may develop an imbalance in the pelvis.
8. Sticking your rear end out
If you sand with your bottom sticking out, then that will be causing your back to arch and it will be putting a strain on your spine, which will lead to backache. This bad posture is often caused by excessive weight around the waist, wearing heels, or it can be a result of pregnancy. You can correct this posture, though, by exercising to strengthen the core muscles and buttocks.
9. Holding your head forward
This is another common problem that is brought on by spending too long sitting at a desk. If you tend to hold your head forward from your body, you will get stiff muscles in your back and your neck. To correct this, you will need to do neck exercises to strengthen the neck muscles. Be careful not to overdo this, though, or you could cause damage to your spine.
10. Carrying heavy bags
Carrying heavy bags over your shoulder or on your back will also put undue pressure on your spine and cause backaches and lead to bad posture. The solution to this one is simple. Get a smaller bag and only carry what you really need around with you.