Improving Body Posture

You may not be conscious of having bad posture, but if you suffer from neck or back pain, or find that your neck cracks, then the chances are that you aren't sitting up as straight as you think you are. But what are the signs of bad posture, and what can you do to improve your posture?

The chances are that you have to spend several hours a day sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen. You may start the day sitting up straight, but it's difficult to continue sitting properly all day, particularly if you are tired. A good tip is to set your chair high enough that your knees bend at a 90° angle – this will encourage you to keep your back straight. Don't allow your head to lean forward, as ideally your ears should be in line with your shoulders – make sure that your computer is at eye level, so you are not looking down. Place your keyboard high enough that your wrists are parallel with the floor, as this will discourage you from rounding your shoulders.

Sometimes people are prevented from having good posture by their own bodies. Women with especially large breasts frequently experience pain and discomfort, and can find that they are unable to stand up straight without putting considerable strain on their backs. In cases where the breasts are big enough to pose as a health risk, it is recommended that a breast reduction is carried out. During a breast reduction excess fat and skin is removed from the breast area making the breasts weigh less and, for many, this puts an end to constant back pain and discomfort.

Unfortunately, handbags can also contribute to bad posture; the average hand bag weighs about half a stone, although it's the way in which we carry them that really causes the damage. The chances are that you have a preferred shoulder to carry your handbag on, meaning that you will use one set of muscles more than the other. When you carry something heavy on one shoulder, your neck leans away in order to help balance you, which causes tension in the muscles. Carrying a heavy, uneven load adds to muscle fatigue, and muscles that are tired do not support the spine sufficiently, which leads to a slumped posture. There's more bad news to follow, too – wearing heels makes it worse. If the thought of wearing a rucksack makes you want to never go out in public again, then the next best option is to carry as little as possible in your bag, and swap shoulders frequently.

Having good posture requires that you think about your posture throughout the day. Sitting and standing up straight can make you feel and look better, and all it takes is a little concentration.