040317 Checking your posture
Did you notice irregularities in symmetry from side to side? Perhaps you have one shoulder lower or one hip higher than the other, maybe there is more space between one arm and the body compared to the opposite side. Do your knees turn in or out? If you answered yes to any of these, then here is a short self-check for you to examine your posture a bit closer.
Stand with your back to a wall, your heels about 6 inches from the wall. Place one hand behind your neck, with the back of that hand against the wall. Place the other hand behind your lower back, with the palm against the wall. If there’s enough space between your body and the wall to move your hands forward and back more than an inch the curves in your spine may not be in proper alignment.
If you found your posture lacking a bit here are three posture practices that just may help.
This exercise is a demonstration of correct standing posture. Try practicing it two to three times a day.
- Stand with your back against a wall. Place your heels about 6 inches from the wall and about 6 inches apart from each other. Keep your weight evenly distributed. Arms are relaxed at your sides. Keep your ankles straight, your feet pointed straight ahead and your kneecaps facing front.
2. Bring your head back to touch the wall. Tuck your chin as if a string were attached to the middle of the back of your head; pretend the string is being pulled up. Pull up and in with the muscles of the lower abdomen, trying to flatten the stomach and bringing your lower back closer to the wall. Gently straighten your upper back by lifting your chest and bringing your shoulders down against the wall.
3. Hold this position for 10 seconds, breathing normally. Relax and repeat three to four more times.
This exercise is a demonstration of correct sitting posture. Try practicing it two to three times a day.
- Sit in a straight back chair, with both feet flat on the floor and with your back resting against the chair. Arms are relaxed with hands on your lap or on armrests. Hold your head erect. Tuck your chin in as if a string were attached to the middle of the back of the head; pretend the string is being pulled up.
2. Pull up and in with the muscles of the lower abdomen, trying to flatten the stomach. Gently straighten the upper back, lifting the chest. Bring the shoulders back and down against the chair.
3. Hold this position for 10 seconds, breathing normally and keeping the rest of the body relaxed. Relax and repeat three to four more times.
One final practice is also the most old fashioned. Simply balance a small pillow or book on your head as you go about your normal activities such as walking, working or doing the dishes.
Lastly, as you lay in your bed try placing a small pillow under your knees if lying on your back or between your knees if you sleep on your side. Both practices help keep your spine aligned correctly.