Have you ever been told to “stand up straight” or “sit up straight?” Our posture can have an impact on how we feel physically and even emotionally, whether we are sitting or standing. Good posture and proper body alignment can sometimes help reduce pain by preventing or decreasing strain on your spine, muscles, and joints. Proper alignment can help with balance when walking, with proper form while exercising, getting up and down from a chair, carrying objects, going up and down stairs, and can even help you feel more confident and boost your mood!
Sometimes tight or shortened muscles can decrease our range of motion and contribute to poor posture. Weak muscles can also contribute. For example, tight chest muscles and weak upper back muscles can pull your shoulders forward, and weak core muscles can contribute to slouching.
Luckily, we can work on our posture from home! Stretches can help with the tight muscles and strengthening exercises can help build the muscles needed to support our alignment and posture.
Join Whole Health Chiropractic Physician Dr. Jason Napuli from the St. Louis VA while he talks about healthy posture and the “rule of 90’s.” He also introduces some quick stretches you can do from home throughout the day.
As Dr. Napuli points out, it is good to move our body throughout the day, whether that is doing stretches and exercises from our chair or finding other ways to move our body. Finding the type of movement that works for you and helps you meet your goals is important, whether that is to help manage a chronic condition or increase your stamina, strength, mobility, balance, or flexibility. Listening to our body is important for any movement exercise. Reflecting and bringing awareness to your body before, during, and after movement activities can help prevent injury.
For more information on the importance of physical activity visit the National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Preventions Healthy Living Message page: https://www.prevention.va.gov/Healthy_Living/Be_Physically_Active.asp
Looking for information on stretches you can do at home? Check out the Physical Therapy section of the Veterans Health Library: https://www.veteranshealthlibrary.va.gov/rehab/PhysicalTherapy/
To further explore the self-care component of “Moving the Body” visit: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/moving-body.asp
Alison M. Whitehead, MPH is the Acting Director for the Integrative Health Coordinating Center in the VHA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.