6 Two-Second Ways to Improve Your Posture Every Day
Your mother always told you to sit up straight, but somehow you still find yourself hunched over the computer no less than ten times a day. Ballerina-like poise is easier said than done, but it’s all about baby steps. We asked Dr. Kellen Scantlebury of Fit Club Physical Therapy and Sports Performance Center to give us a few quick tips.
Switch Handbag Shoulders
Every morning, you grab your phone, keys and swing your purse over one shoulder as you fly out the door. But carrying that extra weight on one side (especially if you schlep around as much junk as we do) can throw off your natural gait and cause muscle and back pain over time, says a study from Teesside University. The solution? Switch your go-to shoulder periodically, clean out your handbag to lighten the load and wear a cross-body style to distribute the weight more evenly.
Adjust Your Line of Vision
If you’re constantly hunching over your laptop, it’s time to invest in an elevated computer stand. Dr. Scantlebury notes it’s important to keep your eyes focused directly in front of you to avoid bending your neck and scrunching your shoulders too much throughout the day—it can cause long-term back pain and posture problems.
Think About Your Ears
Ever notice your posture while texting? Your head falls forward and your back curves. An easy trick to keep your head from bending over: keep your ears aligned over your shoulders. This will straighten your spine and relieve any undue pressure on your neck, advises Dr. Scantlebury.
Uncross Your Legs
Another helpful tip for keeping your spine straight when you’re sitting: line up your shoulders directly above your hips. We know—cue the eye rolls—but this means uncrossing your legs and keeping your feet flat on the floor. It’s tough at first, but sitting with crossed legs all day can be bad news for your lower body and spine.
Raise Your Chair
If you sit at a desk all day, your seat is probably too low. To check, make sure your elbows form a 90-degree angle while typing. If not, Dr. Scantlebury suggests raising your chair to relieve pressure on your upper trapezoid muscles, which can get tense from shoulder scrunching.
Stretch, Stretch, Stretch
If you feel yourself starting to sink down into a hunchback, sit up straight and place your left hand on the right side of your head to pull your ear down to your left shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch sides. Dr. Scantlebury recommends repeating this move twice daily to relieve neck and back tension.