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Sit up. Stand straight. Don’t slouch.

These commands probably sound familiar to you, voiced many times over by a parent, guardian, or perhaps your very own mind. In that moment, you may have obliged only to sink back into your previous position soon after, if you didn’t shrug it off entirely to begin with. After all, maintaining good posture seems trivial in the scheme of things, but emerging new evidence suggests otherwise.

Good posture presents several long-term benefits that range from reduced stress on your joints to a lower risk of degenerative arthritis. On a smaller but still significant day-to-day scale, the Kansas Chiropractic Foundation associates proper posture with increased efficiency of the organs and organ systems in the body, particularly the digestive and nervous systems. Simply sitting up straight can make a world of difference in your overall well-being.

Trying to fix your posture? Ditch the heels.

Image Source: Dan Dalton

What causes someone to develop poor posture, you ask? The American Chiropractic Association lists many potential causes, including obesity and wearing high heels. If you’re prone to slouching by default, maintaining a healthy weight is vital. Occasionally trading in your stilettos for some flats may have more pros than cons, too. Sitting for long periods of time, a characteristic of many desk jobs, is also an issue due to resulting tight muscles. To correct this behavior, a variety of posture exercises should be practiced regularly.

When it comes to maintaining good posture, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you are seated, keep your feet on the floor, do not cross your legs, relax your shoulders, and make sure your lower back is supported at all times. While standing, rely on the balls of your feet, bend your knees, space your feet in parallel with your shoulders, and always shift your weight around. In terms of lying down, a good mattress is key. Additionally, use a pillow and try not to sleep on your stomach.

For more information on the proper sitting, standing, and lying positions, visit the American Chiropractic Association website here.

Feature Image Source: clasp by liz west

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