Tips for proper body alignment
Practicing proper body alignment at all times, whether stationary or engaging in activity, is critical to helping the body maintain strength, prevent injury, and avoid conditions such as arthritis. When properly aligned, the body relies less on the spine, and proper body alignment contributes to good posture. Although proper body alignment is linked to overall health and appearance, its importance is often overlooked. With a few simple tips, you can actively practice and improve body alignment and reap in the endless health and comfort benefits.
Find good posture
Good posture sounds easier in theory than in actual practice. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, good posture is the alignment of the body in a neutral position: a straight back, squared shoulders, chin up, chest out, stomach in and hips, knees, and feet in line. Good posture is especially difficult to follow during long periods of sitting or prolonged activity, like sitting at a computer or watching television.
Strive for sleep alignment
For many of us, sleeping in positions that do not allow the spine to maintain its natural alignment creates backaches and pain the next day. Try to sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees or on your side with slightly bent knees and a pillow between them. Sleeping on your stomach or in the fetal position with knees pulled up to your chest is not recommended, as these positions do not allow the spine to maintain its natural curves.
Start with the shoes
Good posture and body alignment begins at the feet and ankles. Therefore, the type and quality of shoes you wear drastically determines the alignment of the whole body. It is a good idea to have shoes professionally fitted to ensure the fit is right for each of your feet. Even one person’s two feet are not exactly alike! A proper shoe should be comfortable and provide good arch support, shock absorption, and stability. Do you have a high arch? Is your foot wider than average? If you are not sure, it is a good idea to have a professional shoe fitting at a local shoe store.
Visit a chiropractor
According to MindBodyGreen, spinal misalignments often produce no noticeable symptoms right away. This means an injury, accident, or misalignment could go initially unnoticed until subsequent problems occur later. To proactively ensure optimal spinal alignment, consider visiting a chiropractor to evaluate alignment issues and diagnose any spinal problems.
Engage in stabilization exercises
From the comfort of your own home, you can strengthen the core muscles of the back and abdomen to better help the spine achieve natural posture. Engage in exercises that target your core, such as planks, push-ups, sit-ups, and balance exercises. Cardio and weight training, when done safely and correctly, are excellent ways to improve your health in general. To give your joints a break, consider incorporating low-weight bearing cardio exercises like swimming or biking, as these activities are great ways to strengthen the body and prevent injury.
By focusing on proper body alignment during the day, before going to sleep, or through proactive measures, you can take steps to improve your health, mental performance, and appearance.
Remember: stand tall, shoulders back, and chin up!
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