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Sitting Well: Improve Posture with these 10 Healthy Habits

January 2013

Article by Tara Rayburn

Is sitting making you sick? Seriously, think about how many positions you might find yourself in throughout your day that could lead you down a path of chronic neck pain, bulging disks, even digestive disorders. Between our daily activities and stress, many of us tend to hunch over. We round the shoulders creating a concave chest, and tense our neck. This is the farthest thing from proper posture.

I am a believer (not to be confused with a “Belieber”…that would be my daughter) that much of the pain we experience in our bodies is the result of daily bad habits related to bad posture. I had an eye opening experience last year when a massage therapist pointed out that my muscles were beginning to show signs of early “humpback.” Of course, that’s not the technical term he used, but it’s what I heard, and the reality of what my muscles were beginning to reflect. WHAT? How could this be? I couldn’t believe that writing books and articles about health was actually starting to take a toll on my own health.

Over the next few days I took note of all the various activities I engaged in daily that were causing me to look or lean downward, or slump my shoulders forward. When I added the physical and emotional accumulation of daily stress, I realized quickly that I had not been sitting very well, or, in Healthy Habit Coach terms, sitting for my “wellness.”

Sound familiar?

So, how can we improve our posture? Throw our computers and televisions out? Ha, right, that isn’t going to happen in my house either. Intead, over the next few days, make a conscious effort to think about your posture. Texting, blogging, computer time, television, cooking, talking to your kids, caring for your elderly parents, and sitting in your favorite chair reading are all normal, daily activities that are prime opportunities to hold our bodies in hurtful ways. Each time you recognize that you are hunched over, make a decision to straighten up and pull your shoulders back. Here are 10 simple habits you can dial into your day to improve posture, increase relaxation and help improve muscle relaxation.

10 Simple Habits to Improve Posture

  1. Begin and end your day with chest opening and upper back (rhomboid) stretching and strengthening exercises.
  2. Set a timer every half hour and take immediate note of your posture. Relax and reposition. Please, uncross those legs and perhaps move your computer higher up.
  3. Stop using the back of your chair. Sit up straight and engage your stomach and lower back muscles.
  4. Incorporate exercise like Qigong, Nia Technique or Pilates to experience more mindfulness in your body
  5. If you use handheld electronics vary the position where you hold the device so that your head isn’t always looking downward.
  6. If you sit a lot during the day or fly on airplanes, get up every hour. Your neighbor may get irked, but your health will benefit.
  7. Choose chairs without puffy headrests that push your head forward.
  8. Take a 10-20 minute walk halfway through your workday.
  9. Use doorways for chest, shoulder and back stretching exercises.
  10. Relax and celebrate at the end of your day in a spa with a candle and inspirational music. If you can, focus the jets on your rhomboid muscles.

Finally, begin/end your day with arms extended and head lifted express your gratitude for all of the lessons and blessings life brings you. It’s hard to slouch when you have an attitude of gratitude. Chin up!

Special Thank You to Paul Lofgren, for helping me understand how I can improve my health and inspiring this post - www.MountainTopWholeness.com

Resources:

The National Qigong Association – http://www.nqa.org

The Nia Technique – http://www.nianow.com

Centerworks Functional Fitness - http://www.centerworks.com

Chiropractors I Can Back:

Dr. Pete Hilgartner - Hilgartner Health Institute – Va. - http://www.hilgartnerhealth.com

Dr. David Hetzel – Henderson, Nevada – 702-260-1164

Dr. Elena Morreale – Tampa, FL - http://drelenamorreale.com

About Tara

Tara Rayburn, The Healthy Habit Coach, is a speaker, author, blogger and Mom-on-a-Mission of empowering herself and others with uplifting habits for the mind, body and soul. To learn more about creating healthy habits visit her at The Healthy Habit Coach website, or on Twitter: @TaraRayburn,  Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/thehealthyhabitcoach or Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/tararayburn

Photos provided courtesty of Tara Rayburn, The Healthy Habit Coach.

 


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