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Working from home has a lot of benefits, but it could also be putting a strain on your back if you’re sitting in a chair all day. Even if you’re out and about, everything from the way you stand, to the way you drive, could be affecting your posture.
Your parents may have yelled at you about bad posture, but a lot of the times, it was just to look a little more presentable (“Stop hunching at the dinner table!”) But having good posture isn’t just about being proud and looking confident. Upright posture helps to strengthen your core, stretch out your muscles, and relieves stress from your neck and back.
Good posture can also improve your breathing, correct your body alignment and improve alertness. It may seem counterintuitive, but by slouching all day, you’re actually conditioning your body to be apathetic, rather than attentive. Straightening your spine and pulling your shoulders back opens you up to a more productive working stance, so you’re better aware of what’s around you and more ergonomically-positioned at your desk.
If you’re on your feet all day, say at a retail job, at a hospital, or in the service industry, standing up straight and practicing good posture can also help prevent achy feet and fatigue.
If you have severe back pains, you should consult a chiropractor. But if you just want to start working on your posture at home (or at work or in your car), we’ve found four easy ways to straighten up.
These non-medical devices help to reverse muscle memory that causes slouching or hunching, while re-aligning your spine to ease pressure from your shoulders and lower back. From insoles to chair pads, these products will help you stand a little taller, sit up a little straighter and hopefully reduce overall stiffness and tension.
1. Upright GO Original Posture Trainer and Corrector
This wearable device attaches to your back without straps or wires, and will send a gentle vibration when you’re slouching in your seat or need to stand up straight.
Sync the UPRIGHT GO to your phone and the connected app will track your progress and send daily goals and reminders to help you strengthen your back. The device will learn the best posture for your body type based on pre-calibrated settings; use the app to monitor your daily “upright” score.
Place the device on your upper back, towards where you neck and back meet. The small pad is around the size of a garage door opener or key fob, and weighs around five ounces, making it both discreet and lightweight.
This set includes the UPRIGHT GO posture device, a travel case, USB charging cable, nine reusable hypoallergenic adhesives and a user manual.
PROS: You can adjust how often the unit vibrates and you can turn the vibrations off too if you just want to monitor your posture without the reminders.
CONS: Not recommended to use during a workout or run, as sweat could cause the adhesive to loosen and the device to fall off. The device is not waterproof.
2. Truweo Posture Corrector Back Brace
This surprisingly comfortable back brace will help correct your posture by improving your body’s muscle memory. The clavicle brace slides easily over your chest and back, and re-aligns your spine to ease pressure on your shoulders and joints. Your shoulders are gently pulled back, and your chest supported, so there’s less hunching over.
Start by wearing this for 20-30 minutes a day, then increase it to one or two hours as you get used to being “held” by the harness. Though it’s strapped onto you, the flexible back brace isn’t constricting and is fully adjustable, so it won’t dig into your skin or under your arms. It’s also made from a lightweight and breathable neoprene material — no sweaty pits here.
The back brace comes in sizes for both men and women. Truweo says the posture corrector is FDA-approved.
PROS: Simple way to work on your posture for a few hours a day. Easy to put on and easy to start using right away.
CONS: The posture corrector may be noticeable if you’re wearing a thin shirt or light layers.
3. 5 Stars United Contoured Posture Corrector Pillow
Working from home or at the office? Make sure to stand up and stretch out your back every hour or so. For the rest of the time, slip one of these posture pads under you for a more comfortable seated position — one that promotes good posture and a more natural curve of the spine.
This posture corrector pillow is plush enough to absorb pressure from your spinal disc, but firm enough to not let you sink in. The unique design helps to better distribute weight from your body, and provides a more ergonomic experience. You’re able to sit upright more easily and for longer periods without compressing your spine.
The company says the pillow can also help increase blood flow, prevent muscle fatigue and relieve tightness in your legs and quads.
In addition to office chairs, people use this posture correcting pad in their cars and for their dining chairs as well. A non-slip rubber base keeps it in place.
PROS: The cushioned insert is made from memory foam for a more comfortable experience. The mesh cover is breathable and won’t absorb moisture; you can also remove it to wash.
CONS: This is not meant to be a soft seat cover; it’s a firm, stiffer posture pad.
4. BackPainHelp Spine Aligner Orthotic Inserts
If you’re on your feet all day — say working a retail job or as a service employee — slip these arch support insoles into your shoes. The ergonomically-designed insoles provide cushioning and comfort. Most importantly, they help correct bad posture that’s caused by overpronation (when your feet roll inward as you take a step).
By giving your feet additional support, these spine aligners can gradually reposition the way your spine and lower body contract. What that means: less back pain, and the potential to help with knee pain, arch pain and plantar fasciitis too.
PROS: These insoles stay put even when running, hiking, climbing, etc.
CONS: These provide a slight “lift,” which may not be for everyone.