• Bad posture can cause undue strain on joints and muscles, increase aches, and make you feel fatigued.
  • Good posture, on the other hand, increases energy, reduces aches and pains, improves joint and spine health, and projects confidence.
  • The good news? Improving poor posture isn't that hard when you commit yourself to it mentally and use a few gadgets to assist along the way.
  • We give you a few tips and tricks as well as recommendations for a brace, lumbar pillow, and posture corrector.


If you don't think good posture is important, then let me ask you a question: Why did you sit up straighter when you started reading this article? Both in terms of physical health and social perception, good posture can do much to improve your overall life.

Your body is designed to sit, stand, and even lie down in specific positions. With good posture, all of your joints, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments work in concert, reducing stress on specific areas by distributing the force exerted by gravity evenly across your frame. Good posture is critical for athletic performance, spinal health, proper balance, and myriad other physiological reasons.

As humans intrinsically recognise good and bad posture, the person standing tall or sitting upright will command more attention and respect than the slouch standing or sitting nearby, all other character traits aside.

Your primary reason for wanting to learn how to improve posture should be your own well being. With better posture, you will feel better in terms of physical aches and pains, you will likely have more energy, you will reduce the likelihood of chronic physical issues later in life, and you'll feel more confidence and self-worth. As a secondary benefit, people really will look up to you the more you stand up tall and sit up straight.

Read on in the slides below to learn how to improve your posture.


Proper posture while standing

Danny Bakst/Business Insider

Proper standing posture consists of:

  1. Head upright and centred, chin parallel to the floor
  2. Shoulders pulled gently back
  3. Stomach slightly drawn in
  4. Knees unlocked
  5. Feet shoulder width apart
  6. Weight centred on feet

Proper posture while seated

Danny Bakst/Business Insider

When you are sitting in a chair, you should do it like this:

  1. Head upright, chin parallel to the floor
  2. Back straight with natural curve (rolled magazine should be able to slide between mid-back and chair)
  3. Shoulders pulled back
  4. Knees bent at right angle
  5. Feet flat on the floor

How to improve your posture

Danny Bakst/Business Insider

OK, so now you know basically how you should position your body when standing and seated. But how can you remember to maintain good posture after years of living life slightly slumped?

First, establish what proper posture feels like.

For good standing posture, position your heels against a wall, then stand up straight and let your shoulders and the back of your head gently make contact with it. There, that's standing up straight.

For a seated posture baseline, put your butt against the back of the chair, touch your shoulders to the chair's back, level your chin with the ground, get those legs bent to 90 degrees, feet flat, and then make sure you can slide a rolled magazine or small towel behind your back. Good.

Next, make a posture mantra.

Come up with a simple phrase you think to yourself every time you stand up or sit down. Something like: "Standing up, straighten up" or "Sitting down, feet on the ground."

If remembering to have good posture isn't working, don't worry, there are gadgets and gizmos that can help you.


Try a posture correcting brace

Amazon

When properly adjusted, a posture corrector is perfectly comfortable as long as you are exhibiting good posture, and will gently tug against you when you start to slouch.

Corrector braces fit around your shoulders and across the back, exerting a bit of force that will hold you in the right position and over time retrain your body.


Get a lumbar pillow

Amazon

Whether used at your desk, in the car, or anywhere you'll be seated for a while, a lumbar pillow offers more comfort and support for your lower back as well as enhanced posture, by helping maintain a slight curve to your spine and an upright position.


Use an app-enabled buzzing posture trainer

Amazon

It's the 21st century, why not let technology help your posture problems? The Upright GO Posture Trainer and Corrector consists of a small device that you place right between your shoulders with an adhesive patch. When it detects you slouching, it vibrates, reminding you to sit or stand up straight.

By pairing with an app, the Upright GO lets you track your progress over time. And apparently, 80% of people who use it reported significant and lasting posture improvement starting within just two weeks.

For more go to Business Insider South Africa.

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