How to fix your posture at home: tips from a Chiropractor

At one point or another, we’ve all straightened up from our desk or from slouching in front of the TV and felt the effects of bad posture. And we probably all recognise the effect good posture can have on how confident and reliable someone appears.

However, posture isn’t as simple as aesthetics, or a temporary crick in your neck. Good posture is one of the building blocks of a healthy body – and it’s something we could all stand to improve.

What is posture?

Although the short answer is that posture is how you hold your body, the mechanisms at play are more complex than you may realise. The musculoskeletal system is responsible for posture, and it’s linked to our sense of balance, or proprioception (our awareness of where the body is in space). Your posture is determined by a combination of the natural position of your spine, and the coordination of muscles and reflexes that work to keep you upright, whether you’re moving or still.

Poor posture and postural stress

What we think of as ‘poor posture’ is a response to postural stress, which is anything that challenges the natural, comfortable position of your body. In modern life, that can be hard to avoid. The perfect example is an office working environment that requires a lot of typing, sitting and squinting at screens. Cramped or uncomfortable sleeping positions are another example. Even gravity is a source of postural stress – try escaping that!

Stretches to help correct posture at home

Even if we can’t prevent all postural stress, we can work to lower its impact on our health through exercise and physical therapies. Like any other muscle, postural reflexes get stronger when you use them, and weaken when you don’t.

Try these simple, at home exercises to improve your posture.

Cat/Cow stretch

  1. Start on all fours, with a straight spine. (This stretch can also be performed standing.)

  2. Inhale as you drop your stomach, roll your shoulders up and tilt your chin to the ceiling.

  3. Exhale as you round your back, pushing your shoulder blades up, dropping your head and tucking your pelvis.

  4. Repeat 8 to 10 times, holding each position for 2 to 3 seconds.

Twisted spine stretch

  1. Sitting or standing, interlace your fingers behind your head, elbows wide.

  2. Rotate your upper body to the left until you can feel a stretch. Be careful not to twist too far.

  3. While your upper body is rotated, lean back diagonally.

  4. Hold the position for 2 to 3 seconds.

  5. Repeat 8 to 10 times on each side.

Chin tuck

  1. Standing or sitting with a straight spine, tuck your chin down.

  2. Pull your neck backwards.

  3. Gently push your chin towards your chest until you feel a stretch in the back of your neck.

  4. Hold the position for 2 to 3 seconds.

  5. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Regular physical activity and being conscious of how you move and use your body is key to maintaining good posture and overall good health and wellbeing. It’s well worth investing time and thought into. Book a consult today for a professional assessment of your posture and more expert chiropractic advice.