With so many people sitting in front of a computer all day, it makes sense that they will spend a good amount of time seeking out ways to improve posture. They usually start off the same way, trying to remember to have good posture.
When that doesn’t work, they start scouring the internet looking for gadgets that will make them have better posture – and the posture brace will soon look like a tempting option. But don’t make that mistake!
Here’s why a posture brace can’t possibly give you better posture…
Wearing a brace for extended periods of time won’t make your muscles stronger, it will only make them weaker. Sitting in front of a computer all day makes the muscles in the front of your body short and tight, while making the muscles in your back long and weak.
The only way to really make positive posture changes is to stretch the front of the body and strengthen the back, but what do most people do? They pull their heads down and then they bend over to stretch out their back.
They are stretching areas that are already too long!
Then you add in the posture brace. Let’s say your back is functioning at 100% strength and then you add in a support like a brace. It increases the “strength” of your back to 110% and you feel immediately better, so you start wearing the brace all day every day.
Your muscles will begin to weaken at a pace of about 1% each day. Just a week later, you need the brace just to feel like your back is okay. Soon after, you’re fully dependent on the brace just to get through your day and you’re back to the internet to seek other options.
Here’s what you should do instead…
Start working on improving your posture through posture exercises. Not sure where to start? Try doing the opposite of what you do all day. Do you sit hunched and rounded in front of a computer? Then you’ll need to spend time stretching your chest and the front of your body.
A simple and effective exercise is one commonly referred to as the “superman” exercise. That’s when you’re lying face down on the floor with your arms extended in front of you. Then you slowly lift up both arms, both legs, and your head as high as you can go.
Initially, it won’t go well. Your muscles are likely very weak! You’ll be doing great to just get in about ten repetitions of each movement. After a week or so, you should be able to feel that your muscles are getting stronger as you are able to do more reps without taking a break.
The key is to go slowly and build up over time. Doing a little each day is better than trying to do 100 repetitions and then not doing the exercises anymore. It took a while for you to notice that your posture was getting bad because it didn’t happen overnight.
It won’t take years to fix your bad posture, but it will take more than a day!
Dr. Philip Cordova is a chiropractor in Houston, TX and a 1997 graduate of Parker College of Chiropractic. He is a speaker on health and wellness topics with a focus on spinal care and posture. He grew up in Glendale, Arizona and practices with his wife, Dr. Natalie Cordova at CORE Chiropractic. Click Here to Read Dr. Cordova's Full Bio