Here's How to Improve Your Posture So You'll Never Have Back Issues

You’re slouching as you read this sentence, aren’t you? No judgment—whether we’re conscious of it or not, we all do it. Even if you do have your perfect posture moments, the simple fact that our muscles tire easily when they stay in one position (it’s true—our bodies are built to be in motion) means a slump is never far behind. However, you don’t need to invest in a posture harness or enlist someone to poke you in the lower back every time you start to sink down in your chair.

You just have to be aware of simple habits you can practice throughout the day to improve your posture. We talked to Allison Stringer, a physical therapist at Proex Physical Therapy, an affiliate of Professional Physical Therapy, and Mark El-Hayek, head chiropractor and owner of Spine and Posture Care based in Australia, to share their recommendations on improving posture.

"Sitting with poor posture causes increased stress and force on the neck and back," explains Stringer. "The average head weighs between 10 and 11 pounds and when you sit up straight the weight of your head is absorbed by your spine. When you sit in a slumped posture your neck and back muscles now need to hold your head up, the neck moves into extension and your jaw jets forward. This can cause headaches, jaw pain, middle and lower back pain."

To keep this from becoming your new normal, take note of a few simple tricks you can do throughout the day, and soon you’ll be sitting (and standing) tall.  

Keep reading for how to improve posture—walking with a book on your head is not one of them. 

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.