Good posture vs bad posture. Therapist assisting someone with their posture, whilst demonstrating on a wooden mannequin how to improve posture.

Good posture vs bad posture: what to be aware of

Good posture has many benefits. It makes breathing easier, reduces the risk of aches and pains, and even makes us feel a lot more confident!

However, how can you tell when your posture is correct and when there is room for improvement? Here are some of the signs to look out for:

Good posture: Your head is held high
Bad posture: Your head is tilted forwards or backwards

Holding your head high means less pressure on your neck and spine, reducing the odds of neck pain, stiffness, and other ailments.

When you tilt your head down, for example, when you’re looking at your phone, you can put up to 60lbs (27kg) of pressure on your neck and shoulders!

Good posture: Your shoulders are relaxed
Bad posture: Your shoulders are hunched forward or rounded

Relaxing your shoulders helps keep your spine in alignment and helps open up your chest and diaphragm, meaning you can breathe much easier. Conversely, slouching and hunching can lead to tension and make it harder to breathe.

Take the time to make sure your shoulders are relaxed and pulled back. Gentle exercises like chest stretches and arm rolls can stretch out your shoulder muscles, making it easier to ensure good posture.

Good posture: Your spine has a natural curve
Bad posture: Your spine is too straight or too curved

Posture isn’t all about standing as straight as possible! In fact, a spine that is too straight can lead to back pain and tiredness over time. Likewise, an overly curvy spine pulls the vertebrae out of their normal position, leading to pain, stiffness, and even balance issues.

When you’re in the proper posture, you should have a gentle curve in your lower back.

Good posture: Your hips are level with each other
Bad posture: Your hips are uneven

Perfectly aligned hips mean less pressure on your spine. When your hips are uneven, you can experience not just back pain but pain in your feet, ankles, and knees too.

You can tell if your hips are aligned by looking in a mirror. If your shoulders are level with each other and you can draw a vertical line from your nose to your navel, you’re on the right track!

Good posture: Your weight is evenly distributed on both feet
Bad posture: Your weight is shifted to one side

A lot of people stand (or sit) with more weight on one foot. This can cause feet to roll inward, meaning more stress on the foot, hips, and lower back.

Making an effort to balance weight on both feet will make a world of difference to your posture. If you’re struggling, it may be worth reviewing your footwear.

Follow this guidance, and you’ll be one step closer to achieving good posture all the time, whether you’re sitting or standing!

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