I am not the posture poster girl. I admire people who can sit up for long periods with a straight spine. But even when I consciously vow to sit up straight, I notice within 10 minutes or so that I’m slumped. And now that I’m breastfeeding, I’ve noticed my posture has taken even more of a hit.
Now that school is in session, children and teens are sitting for hours a day…and I’m willing to bet that you sit at a computer for most of your waking hours, too. Esther Gokhale, posture expert, pain specialist and author of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, says children’s posture these days is bad—and getting worse.
“The frustrating thing is that it is easy to fix, but the way we proceed does more harm than good,” she says. “Periodically telling children to ‘sit up straight’ or ‘stand up straight’ simply induces them to sway their backs. Giving them poor examples to copy also doesn’t help. Adults need to understand what good posture is, give our children a healthy start by carrying them in healthy ways, continue to support their structure with healthy furniture and preferably model healthy posture for them in our own bodies.”
Here are some quick posture tips from Gokhale to keep your back on the straight and narrow!
8 Quick Tips for a Healthy Back
1. Leave your behind behind you.
2. Lengthen, don’t curve, the small of your back.
3. Cultivate a J-spine, not an S-spine.
4. Strengthen your deep, not your superficial, abdominal muscles.
5. Use your everyday activities as your primary way to strengthen and lengthen your back and other muscles.
6. Use your natural breathing pattern to massage your spine.
8. Carry weights close in to your body with your “inner corset” engaged. (Read more about posture with a free chapter download!)
6 Back-Breakers to Avoid
1. Rounding the back when bending.
2. Sitting in bucket seats and other poorly designed seating.
3. Carrying heavy items without engaging the deep abdominal muscles.
4. Impact from running and other activities without engaging the deep abdominal muscles.
5. Twisting the back without lengthening first.
6. Crunches and sit-ups.
Avoid those back-breakers and make sure you’re treating your back kindly. It’ll thank you! —Erin