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Health Chatter: Common posture mistakes

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

Posture is the position you hold your body in when standing or sitting. You can have good posture, which means you hold your body in the correct position, or poor posture which can cause acute or chronic medical conditions.

Correcting your posture may take time as your body has got used to sitting or standing a certain way, but putting in the effort can help and prevent you developing or exacerbating potentially painful problems.

Common posture mistakes - do you do any of these?

Slouching in a chair This doesn’t always cause discomfort but, over time, slouching can put strain on muscles and soft tissue which can lead to tension & pain.

Sticking your bottom out If your bottom tends to stick out or you have a pronounced curve in your lower back, you may have hyper lordosis. Wearing high heels, excessive weight around the stomach and pregnancy can all contribute to a 'Donald Duck' posture.

Standing with a flat back This is often caused by muscle imbalances - sitting down for long periods can be a cause, and a flat back can make your head & neck lean forward causing muscle strain.

Leaning on one leg Over time, this can lead you to develop muscle imbalances around the pelvic area leading to strain in the lower back and buttocks.

Carrying loads on one side It might be a backpack carried on one shoulder or a toddler carried on one hip - carrying loads unevenly can lead to uneven hips.

Hunching and ‘text neck’ If you hunch your back, or spend a lot of time looking down at your phone, you could develop a rounded upper back due to weakness in this area and tightness in your chest.

Poking your chin You could develop neck strain if you regularly stick out your chin, perhaps because your computer screen is too high or your back is hunched.

Rounded shoulders To find out if your shoulders are rounded, stand facing a mirror. If your knuckles face forward it may indicate that you have a tight chest and weak upper back leading to round shoulders.

Cradling your phone If you hold your phone between your ear and shoulder, you are putting yourself at risk of neck, upper back and shoulder strain.

Cheerful business man on a phone-call in a park
Cradling your phone between your ear and shoulder is a common posture mistake

Although good posture is important, if you’re in a sedentary role, it’s arguably more important to move regularly.

Spend a minute or two stretching or walking to the printer every 20 minutes or so, or look for exercises you can do at your desk.

What does good posture look like?

When standing: Imagine a piece of string pulling up from the very top of your head

  • Shoulders back

  • Tummy pulled in

  • Feet, hips & shoulders in alignment

  • Weight evenly distributed across both feet

  • Straight legs, but relaxed knees

  • Head straight and looking directly ahead

When sitting at a desk:

  • Feet both flat on the floor

  • Knees level or lightly lower than hips

  • Hips a far back on seat as possible

  • Shoulders relaxed

  • Elbows at right angles

  • Head straight and looking directly ahead

Our sources and for more information:


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