Top Three Daily Habits To Start And Stop Doing To Improve Your Posture
As I work with my Shelburne patients who struggle with poor posture, we take a three pronged approach: Get the spine healthier with specific chiropractic care, teach exercises to get the spine stronger and show people ways to stop recreating their poor pasture by replacing bad habits with good habits and prevent problems in the future. Here are the best practices for habits to support having great posture for a lifetime: 3 things to stop doing and three things to start doing.
Stop Doing List
- Stop looking down when you are texting or using your lap top on your lap.
- Stop sleeping with too many pillows because it just forces your head forward all night long while you sleep, reinforcing the bad posture you have during the day that you are trying to change.
- Stop driving with your seat reclined. In order to see the road, you will need to have your head bent forward (unless you are an astronaut driving a space ship!)
Start Doing List
- Keep your screens at eye level with your head held up. For your handheld device, start holding it up in front of your face. This is most easily accomplished during sustained use by placing your fist into your armpit which will cause your arm to rest out at an angle rather than down by your side. For laptops and tablets, place them on a riser or an elevated stand and add an external keyboard that is placed at a lower level so your shoulders, arms and wrists are relaxed while typing.
- Start using one pillow so your head lies flat and your neck has a gentle forward curve supported. I prefer the design of the Proper Pillow, but you may find a buckwheat-filled pillow can also work. When lying on your side, be sure to have enough height in the pillow to keep your neck straight while making room for your shoulders. No pillow and your neck will be angled down and too large a pillow will angle it too far up.
- Start driving with your seat in an upright 90o angle so you are looking straight ahead. Beware the design of most cars that will then force your head forward from the headrest. I guess the designers of these cars all have poor posture habits! Some cars may allow you to turn the headrest so it faces backwards to stop it from pushing your neck forward. If your car does not allow this, then you can add a pillow behind your back to reconcile the seat design. Remember to always be sure the headrest is no more than 2-3 inches away from the back of your head so it will protect you from whiplash in the case of a collision. I love the design of the Backvitalizer pillows to support the spine while driving. You simply blow a few breaths of air into them and the weight of your body will shape the ideal contours of your spine. Remember to reset your rearview mirror once you have the right set up of your seat.
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