Posture is one of those things that you might not give much thought to, until it starts to negatively affect the way you feel at the end of the day. A twinge of a muscle, a throbbing in your lower back or even intense pain are all signs that bad posture may be affecting your level of comfort. This is especially true for workers who have to stand or walk all day long. If you feel pain and discomfort at the end of a shift, bad posture may be to blame. Keep reading to learn how posture affects your level of comfort, how to improve posture and what you can do to prevent bad posture from ruining your evenings:
Why standing posture is important
Posture is the way you hold your back and align your spine while standing or sitting. When you work on your feet all day in a busy environment, you might not notice that your back is aligned poorly – until you feel that twinge of pain. By the time your back starts to ache, much of the damage is already done. Stretching and exercise can alleviate this pain, but it's better to learn how to stand correctly to prevent the pain from occurring in the first place.
The University of Georgia noted that a normal spinal alignment will prevent muscles in your back from getting tight while strengthening the muscles that stabilize you during activities. Normal alignment looks like a gentle S-curve. A severe S-curve can cause back pain, just as attempting to keep your spine straight can cause discomfort. Good posture means that the top of your spine is slightly curved forward, your mid-spine is gently curved back and your lower spine finishes the S-shape by slightly curving forward again. Maintaining this posture throughout the day will ease pain and give you increased stability while performing your tasks.
Footwear and posture
Your shoes play an important role in your level of comfort and safety on the job. Clemson University reported that the type of shoes you wear can affect the way you walk and maneuver your body while completing tasks at work. Nurses, cashiers, machinists, mechanics, custodians and other professions that depend on the ability to stand for long periods can all benefit from wearing comfortable footwear. Worn out work shoes should be replaced immediately, because they can increase the pressure of heel strikes, putting unwanted pressure on your lower back.
Work shoes with slip-resistant soles can also prevent further pain from slip-and-fall accidents. Such incidents can lead to slipped discs and other ailments that could necessitate time away from work. Cushioned insoles and floor mats can also benefit workers who need to stand in the same position for long stretches.
Exercises to improve posture
There are a few simple exercises you can do at home to improve your posture and prevent pain from occurring on the job. Consider these three exercises to strengthen your stabilizing muscles:
- Back raises: The Huffington Post recommended this move to help out your lower back. Lie down on your stomach with your toes on the floor and your arms outstretched above your head. Then lift your arms and legs up off the floor, focusing on your lower back. Hold the position for a moment, and then relax. Repeat this a few times.
- Toe touches: To relieve some of the tightness in your lower back, sit down on the floor with your legs out and your feet together. Gently lean forward to touch your toes. If you can't reach all the way to your toes, lean as far as you can without feeling pain. Hold this for 10 seconds, and then relax. Do this a few times a week until you can comfortably touch your toes.
- Knee hugs: Another low-impact way to stretch your lower back is to lie on the floor and draw your knees up to your chest. Hug your knees gently with both arms and hold this position. You can roll slightly from side to side, and then relax.
Remember to check with your health care professional if you experience severe pain that lasts for several days.Share this article