Correct Posture and Habits

The Importance of Posture

You may have heard that good posture is essential for good health, but do you know why? Posture refers to how you position your body when you’re sitting, standing, or lying down. Your posture is the result of habits formed over the course of years.

Many people may recognize poor posture in others without realizing how their own falls short. If you look around at co-workers at the office, you’ll likely find them hunched over at their desks. Learn why good posture matters — and what you can do to improve yours.

What is good posture ?

Good posture is the proper alignment of your body when standing or sitting. Correct positioning involves training yourself to hold your body against gravity with the least strain and tension on supportive structures, such as your muscles and ligaments. Proper posture keeps your bones and joints in optimal alignment and decreases wear and tear on supportive structures.

Good posture reduces back and neck pain

The proper alignment of your spine allows you to move easily so that your body supports your weight without strain. Poor posture can place stress on your tendons, muscles, and ligaments, leading to neck and back pain.

If you suffer from neck and back pain, it may surprise you to know that improving your posture may go a long way in easing your symptoms.

Poor posture impacts digestion

Slouching puts your body in an unnatural position that can impact certain abdominal organs. Stooping or hunching over at your desk or slouching while looking at your mobile device can interfere with proper digestion, increasing the risk for acid reflux and constipation.

If you notice that you get heartburn when slouching, something as simple as sitting up straight may bring relief.

Good posture improves muscle and joint function

When you use good posture, your muscles and other structures function properly, helping you to avoid abnormal wear and tear. Improper posture places stress on your joints and can cause them to wear away. This is the most common cause of osteoarthritis, a form of “wear and tear” arthritis.

While other factors, such as age and genetics, can increase the risk of arthritis, the way you carry your body plays a role in how much stress you put on your joints. Keeping your body aligned in the proper posture can reduce muscle fatigue and strain and help keep your joints healthy and lubricated.

Proper posture boosts mood

When you think about factors that can improve your mood, posture likely isn’t the first thing to come to mind. Look at it this way: Your brain and body have two-way communication, meaning that your mood can impact your posture and your posture can affect your mood. When you’re happy, you may notice that you sit upright, and when you’re feeling down, you’re more likely to slouch or sit in a slumped position.

The next time you notice your mood sinking, try changing your posture; stand up straight, and take deep breaths. You may notice a gentle boost in mood after doing so.


  • Stand up straight and tall

  • Keep your shoulders back

  • Pull your stomach in

  • Put your weight mostly on the balls of your feet

  • Keep your head level

  • Let your arms hang down naturally at your sides

  • Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart


Many spend a lot of their time sitting - either at work, at school, or at home. It is important to sit properly, and to take frequent breaks:

  • Switch sitting positions often

  • Take brief walks around your office or home

  • Gently stretch your muscles every so often to help relieve muscle tension

  • Don't cross your legs; keep your feet on the floor, with your ankles in front of your knees

  • Make sure that your feet touch the floor, or if that's not possible, use a footrest

  • Relax your shoulders; they should not be rounded or pulled backwards

  • Keep your elbows in close to your body. They should be bent between 90 and 120 degrees.

  • Make sure that your back is fully supported. Use a back pillow or other back support if your chair does not have a backrest that can support your lower back's curve.

  • Make sure that your thighs and hips are supported. You should have a well-padded seat, and your thighs and hips should be parallel to the floor.


Follow these tips to avoid compressing the spinal discs or straining your lower back when you are lifting:

  • Keep a wide base of support. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other (karate stance).

  • Squat down, bending at the hips and knees only. If needed, put one knee to the floor and your other knee in front of you, bent at a right angle (half kneeling).

  • Keep good posture. Look straight ahead, and keep your back straight, your chest out, and your shoulders back. This helps keep your upper back straight while having a slight arch in your lower back.

  • Slowly lift by straightening your hips and knees (not your back). Keep your back straight, and don't twist as you lift.

  • Hold the load as close to your body as possible, at the level of your belly button.

  • Use your feet to change direction, taking small steps.

  • Lead with your hips as you change direction. Keep your shoulders in line with your hips as you move.

  • Set down your load carefully, squatting with the knees and hips only.

Keep in mind:

  • Do not attempt to lift by bending forward. Bend your hips and knees to squat down to your load, keep it close to your body, and straighten your legs to lift.

  • Never lift a heavy object above shoulder level.

  • Avoid turning or twisting your body while lifting or holding a heavy object.


  1. Stand up straight. Visualize being tall and straight, like a tree. Do not arch your back.

  2. Do not lean forward or lean back. Leaning puts a strain on the back muscles as you walk, and you should avoid leaning except when on a hill. Unfortunately, some coaches have taught leaning for speedwalking, but it is not necessary, and often people lean too far forward or back.

  3. Keep your eyes forward. Avoid looking down. Your focus should be about 20 feet ahead of you. This way you will be able to see your path and anything coming at you from the sides.

  4. Keep your chin up (parallel to the ground). This reduces strain on your neck and back. A proper chin position will also allow you to look ahead rather than down at your feet.

  5. Let your shoulders be back and relaxed. Shrug once and allow your shoulders to fall and relax, slightly back. Loosening up the shoulders in this way will help relieve tension and put them into a position to use good arm motion while walking. You can also do this at intervals during your walk to ensure you are keeping your shoulders relaxed.

  6. Suck in your stomach. Your core muscles can help you maintain good posture and resist slouching and leaning. Keeping your stomach pulled in slightly (while still taking deep, full breaths) can help you maintain good walking posture.2

  7. Tuck in your behind and rotate your hips forward slightly. This will keep you from arching your back. You shouldn't have your butt sticking out while you're walking.


A good sleeping position along with a good quality of sleep throughout the night relaxes the spine and muscles. Sleep is needed not just for relaxation but also for mental and physical recovery.

About 38% of people tend to sleep on their back, making it the second most common position to sleep in. It is also called a supine position. The spine stays elongated and in a natural healthy position while sleeping on the back.

Individuals with lumbar spinal pain and neck pain may find relief in this position with proper support. They may wake with less stiffness and alleviation of pain.

However, the supine position is contraindicated in people suffering from sleep apnoea. This position leads to airway collapse and tends to worsen the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnoea. It also exacerbates snoring.

While it is a much sought-after and natural position it is not advised for pregnant women and older adults. Sleeping on the back also worsens acidity.

Sleeping on the side is the most common sleep position among adults. About 54% of adults sleep in this position. Its popularity might be because of the inflexibility of the spine as we age. Side sleeping is considered healthy for several reasons because it keeps the spine aligned and relatively neutral. It is even more comfortable for people with lower back pain and neck pain if they support their knees with a blanket in between or a pillow. This helps provide support to the hips and pelvis.

Some individuals find sleeping on their backs uncomfortable and may find relief sleeping on their side. However, they should make sure that the thickness of their pillow is such that it helps keep their neck and spine at the same level.

This position helps individuals with obstructive sleep apnoea as the airways are not as collapsed as when sleeping on the back. People who tend to snore while sleeping may also find relief while sleeping on their side.

Sleeping on the side is also the best position for those suffering from acidity or GERD, especially on the left side. Turning to the left from the back position can instantly provide some relief. Side sleeping on the left is also recommended for pregnant women as the belly puts less pressure on the heart and eases blood flow.

However, the most preferable sleep position might not be the best for individuals suffering from shoulder pain. While sleeping on the side, it should be taken care that the spine is not bent and the fetal position should be avoided. The fetal position is considered to be an unhealthy position as the spine is curved and it may cause undue pain or strain on waking. The fetal position also makes breathing more difficult and puts pressure on the diaphragm.

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Basic Social Etiquette

There are certain accepted behaviors in all social situations that you need to learn. With few exceptions, putting them into practice can make a big difference in your social life.

Social rules:

  • Easy to have good manners – These basic rules of proper etiquette are mostly common sense with a healthy dose of the Golden Rule thrown in for good measure.

  • Be on time – No one likes to wait for others who are chronically late. However, there are times when being late is out of your control.

  • Personal space – When you see someone squirming as you step closer back off a bit. Every culture has different comfort levels of personal space, so before you travel, find out how close you can get to people without being rude.

  • Men’s manners – This one is simple: All you have to do is be a gentleman. Rudeness is never manly.

  • Women’s manners – You can be a lady and still show strength. Times have changed, and some rules have become outdated, but it's always appropriate to be mannerly.

  • Teens’ manners – Show everyone how grown up you are by demonstrating good manners. Chances are, if you exhibit proper etiquette, you'll earn respect and maybe even more privileges.

  • Children’s manners – Be the kid everyone wants to play with. Even grownups will want to be around you if you're polite.

  • Host and Hostess Gift - Never show up empty-handed when you're a guest in someone's home.

  • Dealing with a Flaky Friend - It's difficult to deal with someone who is always late, forgets to show up, or can't be relied on.


Regardless of who you are, you’ll have the need to communicate throughout life. Being a good communicator can do a variety of things for you, including sharing important information, winning people to your side, and raising your children.

Learning to communicate:

  • Conversation – Learn how to hold a decent conversation, with back-and-forth dialogue. Never monopolize a discussion, or you may find yourself stuck in a corner trying to figure out why others are walking a wide berth around you.

  • Gossip – Never gossip. Not only is it bad form, if word ever got back to the person you were talking about, you can pretty much be assured you’ll be the subject of the next gossip session.

  • People’s names – Everyone has one, and most people appreciate your effort to learn their names if you spend more than a minute or two talking with them. This applies to social and business contacts.

  • Cell phones – In a nutshell, use your cell phone sparingly in public. No one else wants to listen in on a private conversation or wait while you text someone the latest Internet joke. And whatever you do, ignore your phone while you're checking out at the cash register. Texting or chatting on the phone is rude to the cashier and the people behind you.

  • Email – Think before you hit “send.” Most electronic mail can never be taken back.

  • Social media – Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are part of most people’s lives. Remember that not only can your friends see what you post, others can repost, copy, share, or retweet anything you put out there.

  • Rude questions – We have all gotten them. There are ways to deal with them and not come across as snarky. If you're not sure how to answer a rude question, don't say anything. Just smile and change the subject.

  • How to Graciously Change the Subject - There are times certain things shouldn't be discussed, and it's up to you to shift the conversation.


If you share a meal with anyone, learn proper table manners. No one wants to sit across the table from a slob who talks with his mouth open or snorts milk through his nose.

Learn proper table manners:

  • Basic table manners – Follow the basics that apply to almost every dining situation. If having your elbows on the table makes it rock, take them off the table. Put your napkin in your lap, use the flatware starting with the one farthest from the plate, and don't talk with your mouth full.

  • Restaurant manners – Learn all about how to conduct yourself when dining out. Arrive before your scheduled reservation, be polite to your server, keep your voice at a conversational level, and be a generous tipper.

  • Formal dinner party – Know how to act at a formal dinner party, including which utensils to use for each course. If you're ever in doubt about which fork goes with each course, look to the host or hostess and follow them.

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