This amazing post was written by Jenn Ryan, a freelance writer, and editor who’s passionate about natural health, fitness, gluten-free, and animals. You can read more of her work at thegreenwritingdesk.com.
We all do things every day that aren’t healthy for us.
From drinking a soda to standing in line with all your weight on one leg, there are practices that just aren’t good for our bodies. Some of these habits do more than make us look old, tired, or fat—they can actually damage our spine and hurt our posture that could set us up for chronic pain later in life.
10 Everyday Habits That Are Ruining Your Posture
1. Looking Down at Your Phone
Every inch your head is slumped forward puts 10 pounds of unnecessary weight on your neck and back. Over time can increase neck and shoulder pain and your upper back may even be affected.
Replace With: Neck stretching, yoga, upper back and shoulder stretches, and LOOK UP for heaven’s sake!
2. Sitting All Day
If you have a desk job, you’re increasing your chances of death. No, seriously! This can weaken your muscles, shorten your hip flexors (leading to leg and hip pain), and even curve your upper back. Not to mention increase your risk for chronic disease, but we’ll talk about that another time.
Replace With: Sitting up straight, using a yoga ball at your desk, and take frequent breaks to walk around! This will help increase circulation and boost your mood as well.
3. Driving too Much
Long commutes can lead you to be “hunched” over the steering wheel or cause tense muscles from the stress of driving in traffic and always being on the alert.
Replace With: Walk or bike to work if you can; if not, try to limit those long drives during trips. Or, you know, just sit up better! Stay closer to the wheel so you don’t have to stretch your body in awkward positions to properly drive. This is safer for everyone, especially your lovely spine.
4. Not Resting Enough (Stress)
We all experience stress, and not getting enough relaxation time can cause stress to increase muscle tension, especially in back and neck, and can cause tight muscles that could lead to chronic pain. If you carry emotional stress or pain as well, this could actually lead to lower back pain.
Replace With: Stretching, daily yoga, and relaxation time. You NEED this!
5. You’re Sleeping on a Mattress That Passed Its 10th Birthday
I know, things get so busy that you often forget to make your mattress a cake for its birthday (and dammit, you always forget how many candles to buy—how old is that thing I sleep on every night)? You spend so much of your life sleeping, a mattress is so important! It can kill your posture and increase your risk of back pain.
Replace With: Start changing your mattress every 9 or 10 years, sooner if you have back problems. Talk with your chiropractor, doctor, or research online to discover what type of mattress is best for you.
6. Your Purse Could Cause a Serious Head Injury if Swung
Carrying a heavy purse hurts your shoulders, back, and could even lead to an altered spine. Yeah, it makes a mean weapon, but your muscles can also ache. Your bag shouldn’t weight any more than 10% of your body weight—and yes, that’s when all the stuff is in it!
Replace With: Pick a light purse material such as cotton or cloth, or faux leather (vegan-friendly) then only carry the essentials—a lint roller? Keep it in your car, babe!
7. You’re Wearing the Wrong Shoes
Sexy is… a damaged back? High heels and flip flops not only increase the risk for foot injuries and falls, you also have to arch your back with high heels, and sandals cause your feet to move from side to side. High heels can also actually shorten your calf muscles over time—ouch!
Replace With: You can still wear these fun shoes, but keep the time you wear them short. A dinner party? A walk to the beach? Fine. All-day events? Go for something more comfortable and safer for your back!
8. Lifting with Your Back…Then Twisting
There’s a correct way to lift stuff, and this isn’t it! If you’re having trouble lifting something, you probably shouldn’t be lifting it, so stop!
Replace With: Try to lift with your legs and never twist while lifting! Never attempt to lift very heavy objects without someone there to help. It’s not worth getting back injury!
9. Resting Too Much
Of course, you need rest and relaxation time, but too much TV, too little exercise, excess weight, and binge eating brownies during your “me” time can all harm your posture and spinal health. Exercise helps to tone our muscles and keep them in shape!
Replace With: Resting is so important, but so is exercise! Aim to exercise at least three days a week for 30 minutes to an hour. You’ll be surprised how good you feel!
10. You Sleep the Wrong Way
Sleeping in the fetal position or on your stomach are the worst! This habit can be difficult to break, but your posture and spinal health will improve when you try to sleep on your back rather than curled up in a ball or on your stomach.
Replace With: Sleeping on your back is best, sleeping on your side (stretched out) is the next best!
You love your spine, right? You want it to last for a long time without any chronic pain. Breaking habits is difficult, but now that you know what habits are responsible for your poor posture and back pain, you can work to change them! Stop doing these 10 things—your body will look better, you’ll feel better, and you’ll have a true sexy back!
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