If you’re reading this post on your computer, you might be committing the cardinal posture sin: slouching! “Good posture is important to balance: by standing up straight, you center your weight over your feet. This also helps you maintain correct form while exercising, which results in fewer injuries and greater gains. And working on balance can even strengthen your abilities in tennis, golf, running, dancing, skiing — and just about any other sport or activity.” Even if you’re not an athlete, you still use your balance every day, whether you’re sitting in a chair or walking down the block. There are, of course, physical reasons as to why you might not have good posture, such as weak core muscles or tight, inflexible muscles. For example, “overly tight chest muscles can pull your shoulders forward” (I’m still looking at you, computer sloucher).
“So what?” you might ask. “Who cares if I’m bent over like a witch in a fairytale swamp?” As it turns out, poor posture can result in a myriad of health problems, including fatigue, poor circulation, spinal alignment, jaw pain, breathing efficacy, headaches, shoulder and back pain, and even your mood. Poor posture can also negatively affect your...well, we’ll say “romantic evenings.” Yikes! It’s definitely time to sit up straight. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends the following tips for proper posture when sitting:
● Keep your feet on the floor or on a footrest, if they don't reach the floor.
● Don't cross your legs. Your ankles should be in front of your knees.
● Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
● Your knees should be at or below the level of your hips.
● Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your low- and mid-back or use a back support.
● Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground.
● Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time.
Once you stand up from your chair, the ACA recommends these guidelines for proper standing:
● Bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet.
● Keep your knees slightly bent.
● Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
● Let your arms hang naturally down the sides of the body.
● Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled backward.
● Tuck your stomach in.
● Keep your head level-your earlobes should be in line with your shoulders. Do not push your head forward, backward, or to the side.
● Shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or one foot to the other, if you have to stand for a long time.
If you experience pain, be sure to consult with your doctor. They will be able to guide you in the necessary steps so you, too, can embrace good posture. You can even still be a witch in a fairytale swamp if that’s your thing--you’ll just be a witch with impeccable posture!
 “Why Good Posture Matters.” Harvard Health Blog, Harvard Health Publishing, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/why-good-posture-matters.
 Castaneda, Ruben. “10 Ways Poor Posture Can Harm Your Health.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 1 Feb. 2018, health.usnews.com/wellness/slideshows/10-ways-poor-posture-can-harm-your-health?onepage.
 “Patients.” Posture, American Chiropractic Association, acatoday.org/content/posture-power-how-to-correct-your-body-alignment.