Good posture is not just something your mother told you to keep at the dinner table because it looks good; it is actually vital to maintaining neck and spine health and avoiding pain or injury. Poor posture can cost you an important job interview, sure, but more importantly, it can cost your good health.

Maintaining proper posture isn’t always easy, and living in the age of handheld technology actually reinforces poor posture habits, which makes it even harder. Think about it: how often are you looking down at your smartphone, laptop or tablet? For many of us, our heads are down in our phones most of the day.

When we look down at our handheld technology, we have our heads at about a fifteen-degree angle, increasing the weight and pressure on our spines by about 27 pounds. Another 15 degrees forward and it weighs 40 pounds on the spine, and at 60 degrees, this weight goes all the way up to 60 pounds. The more we put ourselves in this position, the more strain we put on our necks and backs.

The strain we put on ourselves from poor posture may cause a multitude of debilitating issues, such as:

  1. Back Pain
  2. Sciatica Pain
  3. Bulging disks
  4. Strained muscles
  5. Pain in your knees and ankles due to the extra strain on the back

So how can we avoid poor posture on a daily basis? After all, many of us rely on our phones or other technologies that require us to look downward for work. Well, here are a few tips:

  1. Stay limber. Try to get up every thirty minutes to stretch and/or walk around.
  2. Use a foam roller or rolled up towel to stretch your back in the morning or at night.
  3. Sit straight, stand straight. Actively remind yourself to keep your shoulders high and your eyes up forward.
  4. Do yoga! The extra flexibility and core strength will help you maintain proper posture.
  5. Tone your muscles. Work out to build muscles in the back, shoulders and core in order to help support your spine.