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Like many of us, you are probably still deciding on the perfect New Year’s Resolution.  Instead of choosing the typical resolutions like dieting or exercise that will most likely get broken within the first 2 weeks, why not have a goal that provides instant results such as practicing good posture?  If you have noticed that your posture has been suffering for months or even years, you may want to forego the standard new year’s resolution and straighten up your posture instead.  Changing your posture habits isn’t as hard as you think, and you can actually start to see improvement in as little as a few hours.  The first step to achieving good posture is to determine what part of the day your posture starts to slip so you can take action during that time.

Posture Corrector Results

Whichever posture correcting device works for you, you can typically see results within the same day.  When I say results, I don’t mean an instantly perfect and straight back, but more of a soreness like you just worked out for the first time in a while.  Bad posture does not happen overnight and therefore good posture will not happen immediately either.  When your posture starts to slip, your body adopts bad habits gradually and they become the new comfortable standard.  For example if you stand at a high-top workbench for most of the day and you start to place your foot on the bottom shelf as a crutch to give your back a break, you will soon find that this foot placement will be practiced more and more because you feel like you are giving your back a break.  What is actually happening without you even realizing it, is that your upper back gradually loses muscle mass because your back muscles do not need to support your spine as it once did, because your foot and leg is now taking on the pressure of supporting your spine.  You start to feel pain in your upper or lower back because you have shifted your body weight into an unnatural position, impacting other infrequently used postural muscles.  Your body naturally defaults to this elevated foot position several times a day and you find that your leg or foot starts to fall asleep now, and you have this back pain that you never felt before.  All of these symptoms are caused by the simple fact that you are not practicing good posture by placing your foot up on the bottom shelf of your workbench.

So how does this relate to feeling instant results?  When you read about the posture correcting devices below and make a decision as to which one fits your lifestyle, you will notice that you will feel soreness after the first wear, or the first exercise.  This occurs because the devices or yoga poses will activate your core postural muscles when you practice good posture during your wear time.  These muscles may have become inactive or seldomly used because you transfered your weight to other muscles or body parts.  However, once these core muscles are activated, you may feel a gentle soreness – this is the instant results that I was referring to.  The soreness means that your posture corrector or exercise is indeed working and will continue to strengthen your postural muscles gradually over time with repeated use.

How to choose the right posture corrector for you

We all have completely different working environments and routines throughout our day, so in order to choose the perfect posture corrector for you specifically, think about how much time you spend on your feet, sitting down, and doing physical activity.  There are multiple posture corrector options out there and some of them work better with certain environments.

What does your daily routine consist of?

Sitting at a desk during the workday

If your job or lifestyle requires you to sit at a desk for most of the day, you may want to consider a clavicle brace or electronic posture corrector.  The clavicle brace will conceal underneath your clothing so noone sees it, and the gentle pull of the brace will remind you to pull your shoulders back throughout the day resulting in an upright posture at your desk.

Another great option if you have a desk job is an electronic posture corrector like the Upright.  This type of posture corrector connects to an app or desktop icon where you can monitor your good posture throughout the day and recieve realtime alerts and reports.  Since you will be at a desk and most likely have a computer at your fingertips, this option may be right for you, especially if you have a few spare minutes here and there to check the status.  The electronic posture corrector consists of a small device with sensors that adhere directly to the skin on your back.  You calibrate the device each day so it knows what position good posture is, and then as you slip out of that good posture stance, the device alerts you of your bad posture and you can correct it in real time, or see a report of the times of day that you did not have good posture.

Standing in one spot for most of the day

If your daily work environment places you in one spot on your feet for hours at a time, you may want to consider wearing a posture shirt or performing yoga exercises.  Posture shirts can be worn underneath clothing or a uniform and conceal quite nicely.  They typically feel like a tight fitting undershirt and have built in fabric sensors that activate your posture muscles throughout the day.  The design of the posture shirt gently tugs your shoulders back which aligns the spine and also supports your lower back.

If wearing an additional layer or undershirt is not for you, you can always practice certain yoga poses and stances before, during, or after work.  Stretching your spine and back is always a good idea, especially when you are poised in one standing position for your entire workday.  Simple yoga stretches like mountain pose, warrior pose, or tree pose are all standing poses that you may even be able to sneak in when customers or colleagues are not working.  These poses help to stretch the spine and promote circulation and air flow through the body.  They are also quick and easy to do and can make a big difference in your work day if you can spare a minute throughout the day for each pose.  Other poses that require more full body stretches and more floor space include downward facing dog pose and cobra pose.

Where is your posture slipping?

Another important factor you should consider when deciding on how exactly to go about correcting your posture, is to determine what point of your day do you noticeably see your posture go south?  For example, do you catch yourself slouching at your desk around 3 or 4 in the afternoon?  Do you immediately start to reposition your body weight to one leg at your standing counter first thing in the morning?  The reason I ask, is because if you decide to choose a wearable product like the clavicle brace or electronic posture corrector, you may want to start wearing the device around the normal time your posture starts to slip.  With most posture braces, you typically start wearing them for an hour or so at first and then gradually increase the wear time up to several hours over the course of a few weeks.  This gradually introduces good posture to your mucscles instead of all at once.  Like I said before, you may feel stiffness or soreness, which is normal, especially if you have very poor posture.  It’s just like working out muscles you havent used in a while and you need to strengthen them again.

Posture Corrector Options

So what kind of posture correcting options are out there?  Here is a breakdown for you.

Clavicle Braces

Clavicle braces are not only for healing a broken collarbone or supporting your upper back; they also promote good posture by gently pulling the shoulders back.  This gentle tug serves as a constant reminder to straighten your back which enhances your posture.  Clavicle braces serve as a great posture corrector option because they are light weight, affordable, and effective.

Clavicle Brace Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Ideal for desk jobs or standing jobs

Clavicle Brace Cons

  • May limit your upper body movement if you need to continuously reach or lift
  • Some styles don’t conceal as nicely other clothing than other styles

Electronic Posture Correctors

Electronic posture correctors like the Upright are the posture braces of the future.  If you’re a techy and like to incorporate electronics and data into your posture correcting experience, this is the way to go.  These products are perfect for people who sit at a desk most of the day and have easy access to their smart phone or a computer screen.  The electronic posture correctors do need to be calibrated before each use, so you need to have a few extra minutes before getting started to adhere the device to your lower back and calibrate and sync it to your smart phone app or desktop app.  What’s interesting about these correctors is that you can download daily reports to see where your posture was good or bad.  You will also be reminded in real time when your posture is slipping so that you can sit up and fix it.  If you think you would like this type of structure and constant reminding, you can read more on my review of the Upright here.

Electronic Posture Corrector Pros

  • Reports on when you have good and bad posture throughout the day
  • Perfect for someone who sits all day and has access to a smart device

Electronic Posture Corrector Cons

  • Can be pricey
  • Must be calibrated before each use
  • May not be the best option for someone who is very active and constantly moving during use
  • Must have a smart phone to download and use the app

Yoga Excercises and Stretches

Yoga exercises and stretches are extremely good for your posture and help to boost other body systems like the circulatory system and respiratory system.  This is more of a holistic and all natural approach to practicing good posture.  If you are flexible and able to perform certain poses and stretches, or find that you lack the flexibility and want to add stretching and poses into your daily routine, this may be a good alternative for you.  Some posture benefiting poses are listed below and if you can fit any of them into your day, you should feel and see results instantly.  Your body may feel a bit sore from not practicing these stretches regularly, but that’s ok.  This is just an indicator that your postural muscles are weak and they are activating now, resulting in strengthening the muscles that are crucial to having good posture.

Yoga poses are not only physical stretches and movements but they also enhance your airflow throughout the body by focusing on your breathing and mentally thinking about your body weight and energy moving throughout your body.  Your movements should be slow, controlled, and defined.  This activates your core muscles as well as postural muscles that promote good posture.

Many people perform yoga poses and stretches first thing in the morning to wake the body up and have a refreshing start to their day.  If you can’t accommodate this, but have time throughout your day, that is good too.  Poses do not require a ton of time to perform, so you can squeeze the standing poses in at your convenience.  Just remember to do them in a quiet and stress free environment in order to gain all the mental benefits from yoga.

Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose

Mountain pose may look like you are just standing straight to many people, but it’s much more than that.  Mountain pose is performed by standing with your legs together and big toes touching.  Transfer all of your weight to the balls of your feet and lift your toes off the ground, then slowly bring them back to the ground.  Transfer your energy and body weight down through your ankles and into your heels.  Bring your shoulders back and open your chest while continuing to breathe in and out normally.

Warrior Pose

Warrior Pose

Warrior Pose is a forward lunge where your back foot is placed outwards 90 degrees, your front knee is bent 90 degrees, and both hands are together reaching upwards over the head towards the sky.  Warrior Pose is great for aligning the spine and stretching the back.

Downward Facing Dog

Downward facing dog is a pose done on the floor.  Your feet are apart and should align with your hips and the hands should be spread flat on the ground.  Your body will be

Downward Facing Dog Pose

making an upside down V shape.  This pose stretches out the spine as your body weight is transferred to your hands and feet.

Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose

Cobra pose is also done on the floor.  Start by laying flat on your belly and stretch your feet out so that the tops of your feet on touching the floor with your toes pointed out.  Gently place your hands flat on the floor and raise your upper body up towards the ceiling and keep your hands in line with your chin underneath you.  This makes your spine concave and is a great stretch particularly for people who are on their feet all day.

Yoga Pros

  • Free, unless you want to purchase a yoga mat
  • All natural approach to practicing good posture
  • Promotes air flow throughout the body and increases circulation

Yoga Cons

  • You must be in good enough health in order to get down on the floor and be flexible
  • There are no constant pulling reminders like a posture corrector gives you during the day

Posture Shirts and Undershirts

Posture shirts and undershirts like AlignMed are great for people who are active throughout their day.  Even people sitting down for most of their day like them.  Like the clavicle brace, posture shirts have built in sensors in the material that activate postural muscles in the shoulders, down the back, and also in the lower back.  The tight fitting material activates these muscles throughout the day, serving as a reminder to sit or stand up straight with good posture.  The shirts do not limit your ability to move, lift, or bend like the clavicle braces may do.  They can be concealed underneath your clothes or worn like a regular everyday tshirt – your preference.  Some brands do tend to be on the higher end in this category, but many people swear by them and end up ordering multiple colors and styles.  To learn more on posture shirts, read my recommended brand which I have personally worn and reviewed here.

Posture Shirt Pros

  • Can be worn all day long
  • Discretely conceals underneath clothing
  • The tight fitting material constantly reminds you to naturally align your spine

Posture Shirt Cons

  • They can be more towards the expensive end
  • May be too tight feeling for some people

No matter which device or exercise you choose to start with in order to keep good posture, you can typically feel actual results your first day – a gentle soreness like you worked out your back muscles.  This instant gratification will most likely give you the motivation to keep up with practicing good posture.  Permanent results may take several months, depending on how bad your posture is.  Remember that good posture is something that must always be practiced on a regular basis, otherwise you can gradually slip back into poor posture habits.

 

 

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Many working Americans have jobs that require them to be on their feet all day.  Whether you are standing in one position for 8 to 10 hours a day, or you are always on the go and never get a chance to sit, there are some important things to remember about maintaining a good standing posture.

Standing Posture

Be Aware

The first step in practing good standing posture is being aware that your posture is suffering.  How do you know if you have poor posture?  Well, do you feel upper or lower back pain after a long days work and being on your feet?  Or do you find yourself with constant neck pains or a straining feeling?  If you answered yes to either of these questions, chances are you are not standing with good posture.  If you can admit that you have a bad stance during your day, that is the first step to fixing it.

Neutral Spine – Good Curves

The main goal of having good posture relies on maintaining your neutral spine.  Your neutral spine is the natural curve of your back that supports your body weight and enables you to move.  The neutral spine consists of three curves that form vertically down your back.

The top curve, known as the cervical curve, is located behind your neck and it’s in the neutral position when you are looking straight ahead.  The top curve can become compromised if you are bending your head looking down at something or are turning it upwards for long periods of time.

The next curve is the thoracic curve located in your upper back just below the neck and ends just above waist level and below the base of your rib cage.  This curve is naturally curved outward.  The thoracic curve can become compromised and overstretched if you are hunched over for long periods of time.

The last curve is called the lumbar curve.  The lumbar curve is an inward curve like the cervical curve and runs down towards the pelvis.  The lumbar curve can be impacted by not sitting upright in a chair or by hunching over while standing.

When all three of these curves are in their natural position, this is called the neutral spine.  The recipe for having perfect posture, is to keep these natural curves in their true form.  When one curve is slightly off, your posture is immediately impacted because the curves typically all move together.  For example if you are hunched down while you stand, the thoracic curve could become even more inward than it already is, thus placing tension on the lumbar curve to straighten instead of curve inward.  The spine is amazingly flexible and it’s good to stretch every once in a while, but it’s imperative to remember to keep a neutral spine at all times.

Stay on the Move

Something else to remember during your day is to stay on the move.  Our bodies are designed to be in motion.  If you are stuck at one standing position for most of your day, be sure to take breaks every once in a while and do a lap around the warehouse or workspace.  Even a short walk to the water fountain or bathroom will help every now and then.  What you don’t want to do is stay in the same standing position for hours at a time.  Take a few minutes to get a short walk in, or worst case scenario, do a few simple and quick stretches to switch things up for a minute.  Your colleagues and customers will understand, we promise.

Distribute Your Weight Evenly and Don’t Lean on Something

Another helpful tip you can add to your list of standing posture techniques is to evenly distribute your weight among both legs.  It’s probably rare for you to be standing on one leg the entire day at a job, but it is common for people to shift their weight from one hip to the other, lean on a work surface, or put one leg up on a shelf at the bottom of your work space.  All of these are fine to do if you’re taking a minute break from your normal stance, but you don’t want to get in the habit of having a crutch like this for hours at a time.  More than likely a leg or arm would start to go numb anyway after 10 minutes or so of holding one of these positions.  Whatever crutch you take to, try to keep it short and then resume your good posture position.

Posture Support

If you are on your feet all day long and really need some help with your standing posture, you are in luck because there are two affordable aids on the market that can significantly help improve your posture: posture braces and posture shirts.

Posture Braces

Posture braces have been around for years and they have been proven to be quite effective by chirpractors and doctors.  A posture brace is a garment that can be worn over the clothes or concealed under your clothes.  The brace serves more as a training device than a brace, as it does not completely support your back, but rather trains your muscles to practice good posture and achieve the neutral spine you once had.

The SheerPosture is an affordable posture brace that is available in several colors and an adjustable one size fits all option.  The SheerPosture brace is a great option for someone who is on their feet all day long and finds themselves slouching or holding a stance that may be causing them pain.  Posture braces do a great job of training your back muscles to practice good posture once again because you are constantly reminded throughout the day that you are slouching.

The braces gently pull your shoulders back which aligns the neutral spine and as soon as you stray away from that position, the brace will tug at you as you resume the poor posture stance.  This triggers your brain to straighten up again.  Once the muscles in your back build back up to the neutral spine position, you will be less likely to fall into that bad posture stance.  The posture brace can be used less and less as your muscles become trained into that good posture position and eventually you may not even need the device.   I have personally reviewed dozens of posture braces, vests, shirts, and apps and have a list of my recommended picks here.

Posture Shirts

A posture shirt is also a great economic solution to practicing good standing posture.  There are several types of posture shirts that can be worn underneath your clothes and conceal very well.  These special posture shirts have patented materials and activating elastic positioned in specific places on the shirt that trigger your postural muscles to activate when you slip into a bad posture position.

This may be a good posture solution for you if you are on your feet throughout the day and do lots of heavy lifting and activity, as the shirts are usually designed for active adults.  They are typically tight fitting and hug your body so that the materials can target your neutral spine and promote good posture throughout the day.

Whether you purchase a posture training device, or you pay close attention to the posture tips mentioned above, always remember to be aware of your stance as much as possible throughout your work day.  A good standing posture can be successfully achieved with a little work and possibly with the help of a posture training device.

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Sitting Posture

Do you find yourself seated most of your work day?  Did you know that your sitting posture throughout the day can have long term effects on your spine and lower back?  It can be difficult at first to constantly remember to sit straight and maintain good sitting posture, but it’s actually quite easy.

Believe it or not, you can actually train your back and brain to practice good posture habits.  If you have practiced poor posture habits for years, it will take a bit longer to get back into a good posture stance, but it is possible.  What happens is that you slouch into what you may think is a comfortable position at the time, but really you are slipping into a bad habit.  As you continue to use that same poor posture stance, the muscles in your back, neck, and lower back lose mass, thus encouraging your body to build muscle in the wrong parts of your back in order to support your upper body and your now poor posture position.

Once you try to correct this posture though, you can train those core muscles once again to hold the body weight in a good posture position.  Take a look at these do’s and don’ts to help you maintain good posture throughout your day.  I guarantee it will have positive long term results.

Do’s

Keep Your Shoulders in line with your ears

If you can remember throughout the day to keep your ears aligned with your shoulders, chances are you will be practicing good posture.

Adjust Your Computer Screen

Do your best at keeping your computer screen at eye level.  If you are constantly looking down at a tilted screen or up high at a monitor, you will eventually strain your neck and this can lead to lower back pain.

Sit Up Straight and Upright

Always remember to keep your ‘shoulders back’.  If you can remember this simple phrase, then you will constantly be reminded to sit up straight, pull your shoulders back, and thus promoting the natural curve of the spine.  Good posture begins while sitting up straight.  The same goes for standing as well.  If you do not have an office or desk job, but rather are on your feet all day long, just remember to pull your shoulders back throughout the day.  By adjusting your shoulders to line up with your feet, you will begin to walk around with good posture instead of walking around hunched over.  Not maintaining good posture while your’re on your feet all day can really take a toll on the lower back.  If you are hunched over, you will begin to feel pain in your mid to lower back from supporting the forward pulling weight of your upper body.

Relax Your Shoulders

Keep your shoulders relaxed and do not be tense.  I suggested earlier to keep your shoulders back – do this without tightening your shoulders.  You want them to be pulled back but not overstressed or tightened.

Move Around Throughout Your Day

This mainly applies to those who have a desk job and are seated for most of their work day.  It’s imperative to get up and move around.  Our body is designed to move, not to stay in place for  hours at a time.  It’s healthy for your circulation and heart to get up and walk around at least 6-7 times throughout a normal worday.

Make Sure Your Feet are Flat on the Ground

If you keep your feet flat on the floor, there is a good chance that you won’t cross your legs or sit awkwardly on your feet – which both negatively impact your posture.

Your Hips Should be Horizontally Even with the Knees

If you are holding the proper sitting posture, your hips should be in line with your knees.  This can be accomplished by sitting with your back up against the chair and your feet flat on the floor.  The hips and knees will automatically horizontally align.

Don’ts

Don’t Slouch

It may seem impossible to not slouch throughout the day, especially when we all need a break every now and then.  Just try to remember not to keep a slouching stance for more than a minute or so.  As soon as you get comfortable in this slouch, it’s hard to go back to sitting up straight.  Try to kick the slouching habit before it starts.

Don’t Stay Seated for Hours at a Time

It can be difficult to take breaks throughout the day, especially if you are meeting certain deadlines or are engulfed in a project.  Keep in mind that it’s good for your circulation and other body systems to get up and walk around every 30-45 minutes.  Even if it’s to stand and stretch for just 10 seconds.  Your body will stiffen up and even cut off the circulation in your legs if you remain seated for hours at a time.  Who doesn’t like a quick break anyway, right?

Don’t Rely on Arm Rests or Table Tops

Try not to put any body weight on your elbows if you are standing at a workbench and feel the urge to adjust your weight and lean on your work space.  This also shifts your spine and places uneccesary pressure on your lower or upper back.  If you sit at a desk all day and happen to have arm rests on your chair, try not to let those aremrests become a crutch.  If you lean on them on a regular basis, you are throwing your back out of it’s natural alignment and it’s not good for your posture long term.  It’s easy to develop habits like this and then they can become difficult to break.

Don’t Sit at the Edge of Your Seat

Sitting at the edge of your seat can also become a bad posture habit.  Most people who do this are coming and going from their desk constantly throughout the day.  Sitting back against the backrest doesn’t take any longer to get up and down, and that few minutes of back support can be relieving especially if you are up and down and running around on your feet all day.

Don’t Cross Your Legs

Crossing your legs is more common in females, but men also develop the habit as well.  Crossing your legs is very bad for your posture and also promotes the formation of vericose veins later in life.  This can also become a very hard habit to break and you should not cross your legs for lengthy periods of time.

If you find that these helpful posture tips aren’t making enough of an impact on your posture, you can always purchase a posture support to wear throughout the day.  This takes the stress off of you to remember to sit up straight.  The posture support or posture vest will do that work for you, as it will be a constant reminder while you wear it to sit up straight.

 

 

 

 

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Having good posture and maintaining a good stance may seem like a job as it is, but is your sleeping posture at night ruining all that hard work you put into sitting up straight during the day?  Practicing good posture yields many health benefits, but what most people tend to forget about is maintaining those good posture habits while you sleep.  There are several positions you can sleep in throughout the night, and some are more beneficial than others.

Stomach Sleeping – A Posture No-No

Sleeping on your stomach is typically referred to as the worst sleeping posture.  Not only is it bad for your back and spine, but it’s also harmful to your internal organs.  Your body weight puts unnecessary strain and pressure on your lungs, stomach, and intestines.  Many doctors suggest that stomach sleeping should not be practiced long term.

Stomach sleeping is horrible for your back because the spine flattens instead of having a natural curve.  The natural curve of the spine is there for a reason – to balance and hold the weight of your body.   If it flattens over time from sleeping on your stomach, many back issues can start to present themselves, as the spine loses the ability to evenly disperse your body weight and will become strained.

Since your body is naturally curved, you can stress your spine and knock it out of a good posture alignment if you consistently sleep on your stomach.  Sleeping face down can also negatively strain the neck because you have to look to one side in order to breathe.  The combination of a flat spine and strained neck does not do anything good for your back or your posture.  If you are able to sleep on your side or your back, you will experience many more posture benefits than sleeping on your stomach.

Side sleeping

Side sleeping is recomended by most doctors as the most ideal sleeping position for your internal organs as they are not overly stressed by side sleeping.  Side sleeping is also good during pregnancy in that it’s the most comfortable sleeping position.  As for side sleeping and posture, it’s not the worst position, but also not the best.  Side sleeping does not stress your spine like sleeping on your belly, but if you do not have a pillow inbetween your legs, your spine will not be aligned properly.  Doctors suggest inserting a pillow just above the knee in order to maintain the natural curve of your spine.

Side sleeping can also negatively impact your neck and shoulders.  When you sleep on your side, you are allocating all of your body weight to one shoulder – this could pose problems for people who have shoulder issues to begin with.  Also, when you sleep on your side, you need to adjust your pillow just right so that your neck is not strained.  It can become hyper-extended and strained if it’s not supported by a pillow.  Side sleeping can also cause your arm to go numb overnight since your body weight will also be forced on your arm.

Side sleeping may not be the most comfortable position to sleep on, but it’s 2nd best for your sleeping posture.

Sleeping on Your Back

By far the best sleeping posture is sleeping on your back.  Back sleeping keeps your back straight while allowing the mattress to do it’s job by supporting the natural curve of your spine.  Back sleeping relaxes your spine, especially when you have the proper pillow supporting your neck.  When you have the support of a pillow, the neck remains in a neutral position throughout the night.  This promotes proper blood flow and enables the body to completely rest and relax, resulting in a peaceful night’s sleep.

When and Where to Use a Pillow

Since we’ve determined that sleeping on your back is the most ideal position for sleeping posture, you need to remember that supporting your neck is also key.  Placing a pillow under your head will support the natural curve in your neck and will prevent any straining or stiffness that may occur from not using a pillow.

Achieving the proper pillow elevation can be tricky – you don’t want it too high nor too low either.  The correct pillow elevation can be achieved by using the pillow as a support instead of as an elevator.  You want your neck and spine to maintain their natural curve throughout the night, so adjust your pillow so that you have support under your neck.

Some of us also use a pillow under the knees, as this can also support your lower back.  It really depends on the type of mattress you have as well.  If you have more of a soft mattress, you may need additional support under your knees and neck from a pillow than those people with a firm mattress that provides more support.

Sleeping Posture Conclusion

Regardless of your sleeping position, it’s wise to keep your hips, shoulders, and ears aligned, as this is a good rule of thumb to maintain good posture.  If you remember to do this, you will maintain a healthy posture throughout the entire night.  This will result in a healthy spine.  It’s key to remember to maintain a good sleeping posture, especially if you try so hard during the day to practice good posture habits.  It would be a shame to upset your good posture by not choosing a healthy sleeping posture at night, as 6-8 hours of poor posture at night can significantly impact your long term posture goals.

 

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Maintaining good posture on a daily basis impacts your everyday life more than you know.  Practicing good posture habits promote a healthy lifestyle and help with your balance, range of motion, increase blood circulation, stengthens your spine and can stop or prevent back pain from occuring.  Are you surprised that having good posture has so many positive impacts?  The following are reasons why good posture is so important.

Posture Impacts Everyday Life

Good Balance

You have probably heard that having good posture promotes good balance, but do you know why?

You are Less Likely to get Inured

When you maintain good posture habits, you are more likely to have better balance.  When your balance is on point, you are actually preventing your body from injury.  Let’s say you work out on a daily basis and practice yoga first thing in the morning.  Balance is key to executing the proper yoga stances, and if you are wobbly, you may fall and injure yourself or pull a muscle out.  When you have good posture, your balance is also on point and you can practice better form in whatever exercise you are performing.

 

Good Posture Promotes Good Balance and Disburses Your Body Weight

Another benefit of having good balance from your posture, is that your body weight is carried evenly throughout your midsection

and lower spine.  If you are hunched over, your center of mass shifts and you are more likely to lose your balance.  When this happens, your body weight shifts immediately and could cause you to fall over.  When your back is naturally curved, your body will have good balance, and certain parts of your body will not be overworked for handling extra mass.  Having good balance centers your body weight evenly above your feet.

Good Balance Helps You Move Better

Another plus of having good posture and thus good balance is that you are able to execute almost any movement with ease.  Let’s say you are a runner and participate in 5k’s and half marathons frequently.  If your balance was off, you could quite possibly misstep and tumble over.  The same goes if you are a dancer or basketball player -having good balance from good posture allows you to do any movement more efficiently or easily.  Balance is key because you can excel at your sport.

Range of Motion

Maintaining good posture not only gives you better balance, but also allows you to have a larger range of motion compared to someone without good posture.  If you are hunched over, or have an overextended curve in your spine, your back will adjust itself in order to make up from the nonalignment.  When this happens, your range of motion can be impacted.  Say for example you sit at a computer desk all day and find yourself looking down at your keyboard or paperwork in front of you.  If you do not practice good posture over time, your neck will naturally adopt that downward looking position as your new normal stance.  Then let’s say you need to reach behind you to grab something from your printer, and your reach may not be as long as it used to.  This is due to your neck and spine taking on a new “normal” position and your back muscles cannot support the long reach that you used to make when you had good posture.  This is exactly why maining good posture is key to having a healthy and normal range of motion.

If you constantly slouch and have been doing so for years, your pelvic area and hips can also be effected by poor posture.  Many Americans experience lower back pain for many reasons, but whenever this occurs, you may notice that you are limited to performing wide open leg stretches or hip movements due to the lower back pain.  Your hips and legs are impacted because your lower back is bearing the weight of your body from your unaligned spine and limits your mobility in your lower body.

Improves Circulation

Having good posture, believe it or not, promotes circulation in your body.  When your spine is aligned, your respiratory system and circulatory systems are activated and perform at their best.  Good posture promotes good airflow in your body which directly impacts good circulation.  When your spine is naturally aligned, your circulatory system reacts property in the body

and your nerves function as they should.  If you tend to slouch over time, this can cause a pinched nerve and negatively impact your circulation.  When this happens, you can experience a momentary tingling in areas such as your feet or legs.  Some people refer to this as a body part “falling asleep”.  If you align your spine and practice good posture, I bet that the tingling sensation would disappear.  You most likely pinched a nerve and stopped the flow of blood in one of your limbs momentarily.  When you practice good posture, your blood circulation should be on point, and you will experience less body parts falling asleep.

Strong, Healthy Spine

Your spine is the literally the backbone of your body and it stays strong and healthy when you practice good posture.  As you have already read above, if you have poor posture, you could experience poor circulation, limit your range of motion, be off balance, or even get injured.  All of these reasons would negatively impact your spine overtime, when really you should be strengthening it each day with exercise and healthy posture habits.  Practicing good posture will keep your spine aligned and keep your back healthy in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Prevent or Stop Back Pain

Many of us experience some sort of back pain, whether it’s everyday pain, or we pull a back muscle after lifting something heavy or straining it.  If you remember to practice healthy posture habits, you can incorporate a healthy spine into every move you make.  For example, if you need to lift something heavy into your trunk, remember to keep good posture and lift with your legs instead of your lower back.

If you find yourself sitting at a desk all day and slouching, try sitting up with a posture brace for several hours in order to train your back to resume it’s natural curve.  Incorporating these techniques into your daily habits can prevent or even stop your back pain.  When you have good posture, you can reduce fatigue in your muscles and even reduce muscle strain from improper lifting techniques or movements.  Having good posture also decreases wear and tear on your spine and instead strenthens it.

To sum it all up, having good posture positively impacts your body in many ways.  Sitting up straight and catching yourself when you start to hunch over can have lifelong effects on your back and spine.  Keep it aligned and practice good posture as often as possible.

 

 

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About the Percko

Alexis Ucko and Quentin Perraudeau, both cofounders of Percko, started their business model in 2014 while attending ESSEC, an International Business School in France.  They strived to design a product that could help millions of people with back problems and poor posture, and so they did.  Alexis and Quentin pride themselves in being one of the first companies to design a product that aids in back pain relief with the help of actual health professionals.  Their team of medical professionals has contributed to the effectiveness and success of their products.

How it works

The Percko Lyne Up undershirt opens up your thorax, or chest, to enable trunk extension.  Trunk extension is when you straighten your body upwards so that you are not bending at the waist, almost to a hyperextension where your back is past the neutral position.  The two main muscles that make trunk extension possible are the erector spinae and multifidus. When your chest is extended and open, your posture will be upright and straight, which is the main function of the Percko.

The Percko works on your entire back, unlike other similar posture shirts that only target the upper or lower segments of the back.

The 5th Lumbar

The Percko undershirt stimulates your back and the 5th lumbar.  The 5th lumbar, commonly referred to as the L5 vertebrae, is the strongest of all vertebrae in your spine.  Since it is the strongest, it unfortunately bears most of the weight and stress of your upper body which can be good or bad. It’s also the most suceptible to strain and injury so the fact that the Percko targets the L5 directly, is a great function.  The tensors are strategically placed to cross your 5th lumbar which apply pressure when you are practicing poor posture and stimulate your muscles, mind, and body to correct your slouching.

How the Percko Lyne UP Arrived

Women’s Front

The Percko Lyne Up comes packaged in a folded paper shell similar to the kind of packaging that panty hose or stockings are packaged in.  When you open the paper box, information about the Percko is printed inside on the back of the front cover as well as the inside of the back cover.  The men’s Percko is nude in color, or skin-tone.  It came neatly folded in the packaging and was ready to wear.  Percko’s proprietary “tensors” are visible immediately in the design of the undershirt.  You will notice the tensors on each shoulder on the front side along with tensors across the chest and then crossing along the bottom at angles when you tighten the side panels at the front of your stomach.  On the back of the shirt, the tensors are vertically placed from your shoulders down towards the lower back and then horizontally connect and cross the lower back in two lines.

My Wife’s Review of the Percko Undershirt

The Percko shirt came neatly packaged in a solid paper box.  It was very soft to the touch and surprisingly sturdy since the material was so thin.  I could definitely see this being a comfortable undergarmet since it’s not bulky or thick at all.

The first Wear

The first time I wore the Percko shirt, I immediately felt a gentle pull towards the back part of my shoulder.  It wasn’t very dramatic at all, and was actually subtle enough to remind me to stand up straight and not slouch.

Like all of the products that we review, I tested out the Percko for 2 weeks to see what kind of results I could get.

 

Week 1

Women’s Back

I typically wear an undershirt underneath my clothes, so for these two weeks, I scrapped my basic cami and wore the Percko.  It fit comfortably over top of my bra and was form fitting like my cotton camis that I wear everyday.  I liked the fact that I could adjust the side panels on the bottom front to fit more comfortably.  After the first few days, I was definitely more aware of my posture than ever before.  The tensors located on the bottom back of the shirt as well as on the upper back constantly reminded me when I started to slouch.  All in all, I would say that week one was my training week for the Percko, as I felt it served as a constant reminder to practice good posture.

Week 2

Week 2 of wearing the Percko seemed to go much smoother than week one as I believe my postural muscles were trained in week 1 and I didn’t catch myself constantly correcting my posture.  I learned to straighten my stance while sitting at my desk and with my normal chores around the house.  I would find my posture slipping here or there, but for the most part, I felt as if I was practicing better posture during week 2 than I ever have before.  I would call this product a success and I will continue wearing the shirts instead of my normal camis to keep my posture in check.

Adjustable Side Panels Can Be Tightened or Loosened

Washing the Percko – How it Held Up After Washing

Like most undergarments, Percko encourages that the undershirt be washed in warm water with like colors.  It can be machine washed, but not dried.  You can lay the undershirt out on a dry towel to air dry or hang on a hanger.  Ironing is not recommended.

After a few days of wearing the undershirt as well as working out and walking with it on, I decided it was time for a cleaning.  I followed the care instructions and threw the shirt in the washing machine on the ‘delicates’ cycle with some other undergarments.  It held up fine in the washing machine and I hung it to dry in the laundry room on a hanger.  The material itself was very fast drying so it was ready to wear the next morning.

Material Content and Design

The Percko undershirt consists of Polyamide and Elastane materials.  Polyamide is a macromolecule that occurs both naturally and synthetically.  Natural polyamides include silk and wool, and synthetic polyamides can include nylon.  Elastane is a polyerethane based material that is used in many undergarments and activewear. These materials create the soft silky touch of the shirt all while keeping it lightweight. The Percko shirt is made in Tunisia but designed in France.

 

Pricing

The Percko Lyne Up retails for 129 euros or $153USD.  Shipping is free, even if it’s International.   Percko products typically arrive within 4 business days, anywhere in the world.

Sizing

Percko products are for adults only.  They have a variety of sizes to choose from and have an easy size selection tool on their website.  All you need to do is have a waist and bra measurement (for females) and the website will give you the suggested size you should purchase.

Warranty

Men’s Front

Percko has a notable exchange and return policy.  If there is a manufacturer defect and you want to exchange your shirt for another one, you have 15 days to reach out to Percko for the exchange.  You can email them with your issue, or send a hand written note with the problem – either way works for them.

Percko will happily offer an exchange for a different size.  They understand that the right size and fit of the shirt significantly matters, especially when you plan to wear the undergarment to achieve good posture.  You can email them directly to do a size exchange.

If you are unhappy with the product for whatever reason, you can return the product with an explanation to the company within 15 days and you will be refunded.   Since the company is based in France and all returns are directed there, you should reach out to them directly before you ship the item, as sometimes international shipping can take several weeks, and you wouldn’t want to go over the 15 day period without letting them know your return is on the way.

The Percko Undershirt vs. Alignmed Posture Shirt

Men’s Back

The Percko does not have sensors like AlignMed, however the Percko shirt has mechanical tensors which is a proprietary technology that has been patented.  Percko has been specifically designed for people who slouch during their daily routines, whether it is at a desk, elevated workspace or even as simple as looking down at your work with your head tilted most of the day.

Correct posture is ultimately achieved when your center of mass is almost in the exact location of where your center of gravity is.  Your spine should always be in an S shape, however when you slouch, your spine looks more like a C shape. When this occurs, your center of gravity and center of mass move away from each other.  This results in your muscles activating to try and align your spine.  When the muscles are overworked from trying to maintain a healthy posture, tensions occurs in your muscles over time which is the actual cause of back pain.

If you are looking for a posture trainer to help with your poor posture, take a minute to research all of your options out there.  Always remember that perfect posture cannot be achieved over night, but after weeks of training your spine to align, you should be able to significantly improve your posture with exercise, performing stretches such as yoga poses, or with the aid of the posture training shirt or brace.  It’s important to consult with your doctor before making any decisions regarding purchasing a product that will improve  your posture.

 

 

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Kyphosis

Kyphosis is defined as a spinal curve, and everyone has a slight natural curve to the spine.  In some instances due to trauma, genes, or poor posture, people can develop a dramatic curve in the thoracic spine which is near the top of your spine by the neck.  If the curve exceeds more than 40 degrees, one will be diagnosed with Kyphosis and may be referred to as having a spinal deformity.

There are 3 distinguishable types of Kyphosis that can all be treated if not completely reversed.

Postural Kyphosis

Postural Kyphosis is directly related to poor posture.  Postural Kyphosis occurs after years of hunching over a work space, sitting at a desk and slouching, or standing for a period of time with your upper back curved inward.  Many people are guilty of having poor posture because they are too busy working on a task instead of being reminded that they are slouching or hunching over.

Postural Kyphosis can be reversed by simply practicing good posture habits.  There are several daily exercises that can be performed in order to strengthen your spine and core so that when you sit or stand, you keep good posture throughout the day.

Another aid to correcting postural kyphosis is purchasing a posture brace.  There are dozens of options to choose from on the market that simply train your back muscles to stay upright and aligned and deter against slouching.  I have personally tested dozens of them and recommend a handful of effective posture braces.

Postural Kyphosis is not easily detected through xrays or an MRI because there is no abnormal evidence from these tests that will show Kyphosis.  When one lays completely flat, the postural kyphosis is untraceable, but when you stand back up, you will notice the curve near the neck which appears as a “humpback” stance.

Scheuermann’s Kyphosis

Scheuermann’s Kyphosis is also referred to as Scheuermann’s disease.  The actual cause of this specific type of kyphosis is still being studied by doctors today.  Many believe that it begins as a birth defect when there is a lack of blood supply to the cartilage in the spine.  The lack of blood flow cuts off nourishing properties and the cartilage around the spine actually dies, causing the spine to collapse and thus creating the dramatic thoracic curve that can range upwards of 75 degrees.

Congenital Kyphosis

Congenital Kyphosis is typically inherited and is an active gene that can be passed down from generation to generation.  Congenital Kyphosis is more severe and can be life altering, as it can cause complete paralysis of the lower body if it goes untreated.  This occurs when the spine is bent so dramatically that it starts to impact the nerves in your body that control movement from the waist down.

Surgery is usually performed on patients with congenital kyphosis, however it’s not always the case.  Therapy and learned exercises can also be performed in order to treat congenital kyphosis, but this form of treatment is usually heavily monitored by a doctor or specialist.

How do you get Kyphosis?

Caused by Poor Posture

Postural Kyphosis, which is the most common type of Kyphosis in the United States is directly associated to poor posture.  It’s importatnt to contstantly be aware of your stance throughout the day and remind yourself to keep your shoulders back and your spine straight, no matter what task you are doing.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis has recently been attributed as the leading cause of Congenital Kyphosis by far.  This is commonly seen in women, since they are more susceptible to bone density loss or osteoporosis.  When the bones become brittle, your spinal discs are more at risk of collapsing or crumbling, causing the curvature of the spine.

Arthritis

Arthritis is another possible cause of Kyphosis, as the joints and ligaments can become inflamed and trigure the curvature of the upper spine.

Infections

Certain bone or spinal infections from recent surgeries or diseases may also be the cause of Kyphosis.  If this is the case, physical therapy or surgery may be the only solution to treating Kyphosis.

Noticeable Signs of Kyphosis

Humpback Appearance

The most noticeably sign of Kyphosis is the humpback shape of your upper back.  To give you a familiar example of what the humpback shape is, you can remember back to the famous story and movie, “The Humpback of Notre Dame”.  Some people experience a severe humpback and their neck and head droop forward quite dramatically.  Others are not as noticeable but you can still see a “C” shape near the neck and shoulder area of the upper back.

Poor Posture

Like the humpback appearance, practicing poor posture habits like slouching over a desk or work space is another noticeable sign of kyphosis.  Just because you see someone hunched over does not necessarily mean they suffer from kyphosis, but there is a good chance they could develop postural kyphosis in the future.

Kyphosis Symptoms

-Back Pain

-Chronic Pain or Nerve Pain

-Hunchback appearance

-Muscle Pain

-Stiff back and difficulty getting around

Can you Cure Kyphosis?

Like mentioned above earlier, there are several treatment options for all of the different types of Kyphosis.  Treatments can range from simple daily exercises and stretches to complex spinal surgeries.

When to see a doctor

It’s always wise to consult your physician or a chiropractor if you are experiencing any symptoms listed above.  Even if you have normal back pain from over exerting yourself and do not actually have kyphosis, it’s better to consult with your doctor to have the peace of mind.

Kyphosis Treatment

Exercise

Physical therapy may be recommended for you based on the severity of the kyphosis.  The therapy may include at home stretches and exercises, or you may be asked to attend regular sessions outside of the home.

UCLA has a great resource for postural exercises.  These can be done daily or as needed during the week.

Posture Braces

Since postural kyphosis can be completely reversed by simply improving your posture, you may want to seriously consider buying a posture brace.  The braces are not an instant fix, however after several weeks of repeated wear, your back muscles will be trained to practice good posture habits again.

Medication

If you have congenital Scheuermann’s kyphosis, some doctors may presribe pain medicine until a more permanent solution such as surgery can occur.

Surgery for Serious Cases of Kyphosis

In some severe kyphosis cases, surgery can be performed to diminish the C curve at the lower back.  This can be performed on young children or on older adults but all depends on the severity of the kyphosis at hand.

In conclusion, Kyphosis can be treated so it does not completely disrupt your daily tasks.  Typically, a posture trainer or posture brace is an effective form of treatment that most doctors and chiropractors will recommend.  Always work with your physician before making any decisions regarding a treatment plan for kyphosis.

 

 

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Lordosis

Lordosis is known as a dramatic inward curve of your spine and can negatively impact your posture.  Lordosis is usually very noticeable in the lumbar region located in the lower back.  It is often referred to as swayback or hyperlordosis – hyper meaning excessive, and lordosis being the inward curve.  Your spine naturally curves near the neck, upper back, and lower back acting as shock absorbers when the body moves.  Too much of an inward curve the lower back can lead to extreme back pain, poor posture, and difficulty performing daily tasks.

Who it Effects

Lordosis can impact people of all ages.  It typically first appears in the late adolescent years after the body has finished it’s growth spurts.  However, in most cases, lordosis can be onset later in life for a number of reasons, including many years of not practicing good posture habits.

Is Lordosis hereditary?

Lordosis is in fact hereditary.  Spinal alignment and back problems like scoliosis and lordosis are all genetic attributes and can be passed down from generation to generation.  If you or your parents have lordosis, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you or your children will definitely have it, however there is a chance that those genes will be passed down.

How Lordosis is Caused

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is one possible cause of Lordosis.  Osteoporosis is a common disease where one loses bone density and the skeletal system becomes brittle and is more susceptible to fractures, breaks, and sprains.  If you have osteoporosis, you may be more susceptible to developing lordosis because the spine in the lower back can deteriorate and cause an abnormal curvature in the spine in order to support the weight of the upper body.

Obesity

Obesity is a recent epidemic in the United States, Canada, and Austrailia and may also lead to hyperlordosis.  When the body gains significant amounts of extra weight, the spine may curve to support the extra pounds.  Having an excess of weight over time can increase the chance of lordosis because your body adjusts to the weight gain, overcompensating the strain in your lower back and causing poor posture.  Much research has been studied on the correlation between obesity and lower back problems as well.

Discitis

Discitis is when your spinal discs become infected and inflamed.  Discitis is usually caused by a virus, but can occur after an epidural from a surgery or pregnancy.  Discitis can cause lordosis but is usually temporary.  Discitis can be very painful and cause you to show signs of lordosis or a dramatic curvature of the spine due to the pain that comes along with discitis.

Kyphosis or humpback

Kyphosis can also be linked to causing lordosis.  Kyphosis is commonly referred to as having a humpback, where the top of your spine is curved and rounded.  The roundness at the top of the spine can strain the lower back and cause it to curve inward in order to balance the upper body mass evenly.  Kyphosis can also be caused by poor posture habits.

Back or Hip Issues

If you have back problems or hip issues, you may change your posture or the way you walk over time in order to relieve back or hip pain.  This can be dangerous and ultimately lead to lordosis.  You should see a physician and seek medical attention for any back or hip pain so that you are not straining your lower back during your daily routine.

A Lifetime of Poor Posture

Practicing poor posture year after year is one of the leading causes of lordosis.  We are all guilty of slouching at our desk or not standing up straight throughout our day.  After years and years of practicing these poor posure habits, they will take a toll on your body eventually.  If you think you need to keep your posture in check, here is a list of posture training devices you can use to get your spine back into its natural curve.

Lordosis Impacts

Symptoms

Common signs of Lordosis include a noticeably large buttocks resulting in a severely inverted curve above the pelvis.  The pelvic bones may or may not appear more noticeable at a glance, but they are usually pushed forward from the curve of the spine.

Daily Life

Lordosis can impact your daily routine and impacts people differently.  Most people who suffer from lordosis have lower back problems and pain.  They can also experience upper back pain due to poor posture, which can impact many areas of your spine, neck, and lower back.

How Lordosis is Diagnosed and Treated

Lordosis can be diagnosed by a chiropractor or general physician.  It can usually be deteremined by a series of xrays, bone scans or CT scans.  Seek diagnosis and consult a doctor if you think you or a loved one has lordosis.  Depending on the severity, a series of exercises may be performed to straighten your spine, a brace could be worn to reverse the curve or for comfort, or it may be a lifetime deformity you will have to live with.

Treatment for Lorodosis

Prescription Pain Medicine

Once you consult your physician, they will let you know which preferred method of treatment is right for you.  If your Lordosis is genetic and you have lived with it your entire life, chances are that your doctor will prescribe prescription drugs to relieve any pain you may feel or to reduce inflammation in your discs.

Therapy and Lordosis Exercises

Your doctor may recomend you do physical therapy so you can learn some basic stretches or exercises.  Common stretches include basic yoga poses and can be performed in the comfort of your own home.  Other exercises include a variety of abdominal crunches, leg stretches, and exercises using a yoga ball.

Princeton University has compiled an extensive list of lumbar exercises that strengthen your core, promote good posture, and can help treat Lordosis.

Weight Loss

You may be able to completely reverse your lordosis if you were recently diagnosed and are currently overweight or obese, and have been carrying around 25 or more extra pounds for several years.  Eating healthy and regularly exercising can reduce your weight and possibly reverse your inverted spine.  After you carry around extra weight for a number of years, your body gradually changes its posture habits and the spine inadvertently curves in order to carry the extra weight.  Losing this weight can take the pressure off of your lower back and naturally align once again, reducing any lower back pain and thus realigning the spine.

Practicing Good Posture

Maintaining and practicing good posture is key to having a healthy spine and back.  Even if you have genetic Lordosis, practing good posture has many overall health benefits.  There are several postural exercises you can perform on a daily basis, including yoga stances that will stretch out your spine.  There are also several posture shirts and posture braces that can train your back to align and you can experience good posture once again.

In conclusion, Lordosis can be treated in one form or another, even if it cannot be completely reversed due to genetic inheritance.  Seeing a physician and practicing good posture are the two most important actions you can take immediately.

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Practicing good posture may come more easily to some than most – if you have poor poise, yoga and posture stretches may be exactly what you need .  Americans today experience some of the worst posture in the world since office and desk jobs keep us sitting at our computers for most of the day.   Staring at a computer screen doesn’t automatically mean we have poor posture, but being aware of how you are sitting, the curve of your back, and the tilt of your neck can all have postiitve or negative impacts on your posture.  If you adopt bad sitting habits over time, your body will become comfortable with that posture even though it’s doing you unrecognizable harm.

Yoga and Good Posture

Yoga is one way to stretch and align your spine.  It promotes airflow through the entire body and has many positive impacts on the body.  There are several specific yoga stretches and excercises than can be practiced in order to promote good posture.  You can perfrom these exercises each day, or as you have time during the week.

When you first start these poses or stretches, you may experience soreness, especially if you have very poor posture.  When you perform these exercises, muscles will be worked that may not have been activated in a while due to bad posture.  It will be perfectly normal to experience some soreness during or after the yoga and posture stretches.  In basic terms, you may feel like you just mildly worked out.

Yoga Poses to Promote Good Posture

Mountain Pose

The mountain pose or Tadasana, is more of a stance than a posture exercise.  performing this pose trains your brain and muscles to practice good posture because that’s literally what this pose is – the perfect posture stance.  Stand with your feet slightly apart so they are aligned with your shoulders.  Start by transferring your body weight to the heels of your feet and slightly lift your toes and spread them wide.  Then place your toes back on the floor.  Be sure not to lock your legs and squeeze your buttocks and thighs while aligning your ankles and thighs.  Take a deep breath and inhale while you move your arms towards the celing.  Take 6 breaths before you exhale as your drop your arms back towards the floor.

Mountain pose is typically the first pose to many other yoga stretches, so it’s important to correctly understand and administer the stance.

Standing Forward Bend

Standing Forward Bend

Another pose or yoga stretch that is good for your posture is the standing forward bend or ‘forward bend’.  This pose involves bending at the hips, leaning forward, and reaching your ankles.  If you are very flexible, you will be able to bend forward and place your palms flat on the mat or around to the back of your ankles.  It’s important to not lock your legs during this pose.

The Forward bend has many other health benefits besides strengthening your spine and helping with posture.  When you bend over, your head falls below your heart and actually gives your brain a rest.  The bend is a stress reliever and can help those with anxiety and depression – it’s a very calming and peaceful pose.

Cobra Pose

Cobra pose another great pose that stretches and elongates the spine and promotes a healthy posture.  This exercise is done on your belly on the floor and simplay stretches the spine as you lift your upper body toward the ceiling.  Flatten the tops of your feet against the floor and gently

Cobra Pose

curve the back as you lift your upper body.  Flatten the palms of your hands and support the weight of your upper body as you lift.  Hold the pose for 15-25 seconds and exhale as you slowly return to the floor.  Repeat 4-6 times.

 

The Cobra Pose is not only good for strengthening your spine and practicing good posture, but it can also relieve sciatica, stress, and fatigue.

Warrior Pose

Another pose that

promotes good posture is the warrior pose.  This is a very common exercise practiced regularly by people who are strengthening their spine and who practice good posture.

Warrior Pose

You start the pose by turning your left foot inward to about a 45 degree angle and your right foot outward at 90 degrees.  When you alternate legs, just make sure both feet are pointing out towards the same way.  Align both heels.  Turn your upper body to the right and gently bend the left knee.  Extend and stretch the right leg and raise your hands slowly up so your palms meet.

 

Gently tilt the head back and look up towards your hands.  Hold the pose for 30 seconds and you can repeat 3-4 times.

Other Yoga Exercises for a Healthy Back

Once you practice and master the yoga poses mentioned above, you can try out several other poses that promote a healthy spine.

  • Hero Pose – Hero Pose is a great strech for the lower body, espeically the legs and thighs.  It’s a popular pose for those who stand on their feet most of the day and have tired legs and ankles.  The Hero Pose is not directly related to good posture, however it relaxes the legs and feet after a long day on your feet where you back or spine may have been strained.
  • Child’s Pose – Child’s Pose is another excercise that does not direclty relate to the spine, however it is a great way to rest the body in between other yoga poses or exercises.  It can be thought of as a cool down pose or resting pose.  It’s also an awakening stretch than be performed in the morning to start the flow of blood and get you started for the day.
  • Cat Pose – Cat Pose is a great posture pose that specifically stretches the spine.  If you know you have poor posture and sit or stand hunched over a bit, then this is a great stretch for you.  This pose involves being on your hands and knees and curving your back up towards the ceiling.  Combine this pose with one of the other posture stretches above, as it is a good complement to the others.
  • Locust Pose – Locust pose is another great way to stretch and elongate the spine. The pose involves laying on your stomach and raising the feet and arms upward, while balancing your weight on your lower torso and ribs.  This exercise may be a bit more advanced, especially if you have a back injury and have very poor posture.  Start with the other poses first and work your way up to this pose.
  • Chair Pose – Chair pose is another spine strengthening exercise.  It involves exactly what the name suggests which is posing in a chair position.  The knees are gently bent and the arms are extended upward to align the spine.  Try this pose up against a wall for more support if you are a beginner.

There are hundreds of yoga poses and exercises that provide health benefits and strengthen the muscles of the body.  These exercises are particularly targeting your back and spine in order to stregthen your muscles that promote a good posture.  By practicing these yoga poses on a daily basis, you can open up your airways, strengthen your vertebrae, and align your spine.  Many people fall into terrible sitting stances and habits during their day, and your body actually adopts those bad habits as the norm.  By practicing yoga poses, your body is put in check, and good posture habits can be formed.  Slouching and poor habits will then become more noticeable and your body will signal you to sit up straighter.

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AlignMed Sports Braalignmedsportsbra-19

The AlignMed sports bra is a top-of-the-line piece of athletic apparel that contains AlignMed’s proprietary interactive muscle system.  Their interactive apparel is composed of neurobands – a strategically placed system of bands made of elastic that mimic the movement of contracting muscles which train joints and soft tissue in the body.  This training results in aligning the body in a natural position.

What function does it serve?

The bra serves several purposes and is not just any regular sports bra.  AlignMed’s products have been tested and proven to aid in pain reduction, increase core activation, improve posture and spinal alignment, and improve overall health.  The bra is one of many items in their ‘interactive apparel’ line.  The product assortment literally starts working for you as soon as you wear it.  Their proprietary technology including neurobands and muscle mapping aid in the stimulation of muscles and joints while you physically wear the apparel.

About AlignMed

AlignMed, based out of Santa Ana, CA,  has been serving the postural fitness industry since 2004.  They design and develop interactive apparel to promote movement, good posture, aid in pain management, and help with athletic performance.

Benefits

Poor posture and spinal alignment is commonly attributed to our learned improper sitting habits that we all practice day in and day out.  For females, this is a great way to train the spine to align  since a bra is worn on a daily basis by most women in the United States.  The AlignMed bra haschecklist several comfort features in addition to functional benefits:

  • -Vented fabric design for comfort and cooling
  • -Anti-microbial
  • -Moisture wicking material to keep you cool and dry
  • -Soft yet effective elastic material
  • -Promotes upper body movement and strength
  • -Provides support during exercise and circuit training
  • -Increases the flow of oxygen throughout your body
  • -Improves upper body and shoulder movement

AlignMed Sports Bra Features & My Review

I received the blue AlignMed Sports Bra neatly packaged in a poly bag mailer with an informational hang tag attached with a safety pin.  From first glance, the bra appeared to be higher quality than my other sports bras I own and use often.  Like all products we review, I actively wore the Alignmed Bra for 2 weeks straight in order to give my honest opinion of the fit and performance of the product below.

Back Air Ventalignmedsportsbra-8

The bra has a rounded cutout vent in the middle of the back with two elastic strips criss crossing in the middle.  The air vent is great for intense workouts or brisk walks.  If you are anything like me, I sweat easily during my workouts and it’s nice to get some air on your back during a quick break every once in a while.  The elastic criss cross straps maintain the structural support of the bra behind the cutout area.

Multiple elastics

The most distinguishable feature of this bra is AlignMed’s use of multiple elastic materials.  AlignMed patented their neuroband technology and powermesh panels so you won’t find them anywhere else.  They use what looks like 4 different elastic materials in the bra.  I think that mixing the materials like this is brilliant because it incorporates all of the benefits of each material into specific targeted areas.  I’m going to reference them as materials 1-4.  For example, material 1, is the base material in the front of the bra that provides support to your chest.  It’s comfortable and stretchy and is typically seen in common sports bras.  Material 2 and 3 is what I believe to be the powermesh panels which run side by side over the shoulders and down the back of the bra.  The first powermesh panel is dual-layered, soft, expandable, and breathable.  It’s located on the outer edge of the bra, closest to the neck and also at the bottom back of the bra – the perfect location to wick up moisture prone areas.  The other is not as stretchy, but clearly is providing the support you need over the shoulders and down the back.  Material 4 is a soft elastic that criss crosses at the air vent.  I think this overall material placement and design is what sets this bra apart from your everyday bra and is quite impressive.

Zipper Frontimg_20170104_143703245_hdr

The bra was easy to get on and off – the zipper especially helped when taking it off so you don’t have to awkwardly pull the tight fitting piece up over your head.  The extra piece of material behind the zipper is also an added feature so you don’t feel the metal zipper directly on your skin.  You may have to adjust that flap once on if you do feel the cold zipper.  Once adjusted though, it should be fine for the rest of the day.  The AlignMed logo on the zipper-pull is a nice designer touch as well.

Removable bra cups

Oh removable bra cups, you either love them or you hate them!  The nice thing about this style is that you can remove the bra cups if you wish.  There’s nothing like having a cheap sports bra where the cups are sewn in but fold in half during washing and it’s impossible to straighten them out without cutting a slit and fixing it or removing them all together.  No need to worry about that here!  The slits are large enough to get the cups in and out at your convenience.  I would suggest removing the cups before washing and throw them in the washing machine alongside the bra if you do intend to keep them.  If you don’t like the extra cushion that the cups provide, just pitch them – the dual layered material in the front of the bra is thick enough to give you the support you need and to conceal any high beams during your workout!

Comfort

The bra is very comfortable and offers great support.  When I first started wearing it, I definitely noticed that some muscles in my upper back were sore for a few days.  It was a good sore, though, not a bad one.  After about a week of use, the soreness wore off, or at least it wasn’t noticeable after that.  I can say that during my two weeks of repeated use, I found myself noticing that my posture was poor and I corrected it immediately.  The neurobands in the bra provided the support I need to align my spine and really did a great job at helping me train myself to use good posture.  Personally, I like the tightness of a sports bra for working out and light walks, but I’m not one to wear a sports bra all day long unless I’m on a hiking trip or some type of excursion where I’m being active and need to be in comfortable exercise clothes.  I do continue to wear this to the gym or during my evening walks, but will most likely not wear it all day every day moving forward.  If I were in the training or lifting industries full time, I think this would be a great product for females in those fields.  As for me, this is great durable bra that I will use several times a week at the gym and when I’m hiking in the mountains.

Double and Triple Stitchingalignmedsportsbra-5

Another nice feature on this bra is the double and triple stitching used in various seems.  You can see the triple stitching on the front near the shoulder where the powermesh materials meet the main front of the bra.  The double stitching can be found on the elastic trim that goes around the perimeter of the bra.  With so many stretchable fabrics in this piece, the reinforces seems will definitely ensure that the bra is durable and long lasting.

Material Content

The main body of the AlignMed bra is made up of 89% Nylon, 10% Spandex and 1% Olefin.  The materials in the back of the bra are 87% Nylon Spandex and 13% Polyester.  It is labeled as being Made in the USA.

Care Instructions

AlignMed suggests that the bra be washed in cold water on the gentle cycle and air dried.  Do not iron, dry clean, or use bleach.

How much does it cost?

The bra retails for $95 and in most cases standard priority shipping is $6.20.  The retail price may seem a bit high to most shoppers, but is actually in line with other high end performance wear.  You definitely get what you pay for and in this case, it’s a high quality product that is extremely effective in promoting and maintaining good posture.

Where to Buy the AlignMed Braalignmedsportsbra-2

You can find the bra on their website or on Amazon.  It’s available on Amazon Prime for those of you who prefer to shop on Amazon and save on shipping costs.

Other AlignMed Apparel

AlignMed designs several lines of men’s and women’s athletic and postural apparel.  The men’s items include pullover and zipper posture shirts and shoe insoles.  Ladies’ items range from zip up bras, pullover and zip up posture shirts, and athletic capris.  AlignMed is also currently in the process of releasing two more product lines -AlignPro and AlignTrek.

Q&Aquestion

Can I return the bra after 30 days of use?

The bra can be returned up to 30 days after your purchase if the product is in like-new condition.  You must go to the AlignMed website and print the return/exchange form provided.  Once you complete the form, you can return the bra back to the manufacturer for a refund or exchange.  AlignMed asks that the product be returned in the original packaging with all tags and informational packets.  Returns are not authorized on final sale items or custom orders.  AlignMed has the right to refuse any return or exchange.

If the return is due to a warranty issue or is defective, AlignMed will accept the product back within 60 days of your purchase.  If the bra can be repaired, it may be altered or repaired;  If it cannot be fixed, AlignMed will exchange the bra for a new one.

Can I put the bra in the washer and dryer?

AlignMed recommends that the bra be washed in cold water and hung to dry.  Doing this will ensure that the Neuroband technology will not be damaged in any way during drying.  They also suggest washing the bra separately so that zippers, buttons, velcro, etc. from other clothes do not interfere with the bra and damage it during washing.  From my personal experience, I always wash delicates on the gentle cycle with like- colors.  If I am pressed for time, sometimes I will dry delicates on low heat with other delicates and they usually turn out fine.

Will the bra conceal nicely under clothing?

The bra does conceal seamlessly under clothing like most undergarments.  If you are wearing a tight-fitted shirt you may be able to see the impression of the cutout hole in the back of the bra.

What other colors does the AlignMed bra come in?

The AlignMed bra is currently available in four colors: black, blue, nude, and white.

Why does the bra have a zipper?zipper

The zipper is an added design feature that makes dressing and undressing easier.  Simply zip up the bra when you put it on and unzip for removal.

Does it help to correct poor posture?

Yes, the bra helps to stimulate muscles and trains your spine to align correctly, thus retraining your muscles to practice good posture.

Will I feel sore after wearing the AlignMed bra?

You may experience soreness after wearing any of AlignMed’s products, as they all can stimulate muscle groups that may not be used often.  The soreness is a good sign however, letting you know that specific postural muscles are being targeted and that the good posture training is already taking place.

Can I wear the bra all day long or just during workouts?

You can wear the bra as long as you want or as little as you need.  It is designed for all-day wear.  You can also wear the bra for a few hours and work up to several hour shifts you experience soreness for the first few wears.

Do the neurobands really work?

Yes!  You can actually feel the neurobands pulling the muscle groups when you wear it.  If you experience some soreness after or during wear, you know the neurobands are doing their job.

If my measurements are between sizes, should I size up or down?

AlignMed recommends that you size down if you are on the border.  Their products are meant to be tight-fitting yet still comfortable.  If you feel you made an error in choosing your size, you can always exchange it for another size that works best for you.

Why is the AlignMed bra so expensive?price

The AlignMed bra is a specialty item that not only supports your chest, but actually promotes good posture and healthy living.  It’s a high end, effective orthopedic product, not to be confused with your standard everyday sports bra.

How long will the bra last?

The lifespan of the this product depends on repeated use and washing and drying care.  If worn all day for several days a week, it will most likely last for a year or more.  If cared for properly and used minimally several days a week, you should see years of life out of it.

Is the AlignMed bra covered under insurance?

At this time, the bra is not covered by insurance.  The only item that is covered by insurance is the SpinalQ – you can call AlignMed directly to see if your insurance qualifies.

 

 

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