GOOD POSTURE IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH
Awkward posture can lead to many back problems, and a lot of p a i n.
In fact, poor, slouching posture is one of the reasons why 80% of individuals suffer from some kind of spinal problem in their lifetime.
As we spend increasingly more time hunched over laptops and cellphones, poor posture has increasingly become the norm.
These bad back habits can be very difficult to break. Instead of trying to consciously sit up straight all day long (I usually fail at this within 3 minutes), using a posture brace can help keep you aware of your posture while relieving back and spine p a i n.
Today we’re talking about why healthy posture is important and how to pick out the best posture brace for your needs.
Why Good Posture Is Good For Your Health
Maintaining proper posture is beneficial for a number of reasons, including:
- Improves Physical Appearance. Standing up straight and tall with proper posture gives you a taller appearance and can even make you look slimmer. It also adds a sense of inner and outer confidence. Who doesn’t want a little more of that?
- Increases Energy Levels. Slouching over actually prevents your body from receiving sufficient oxygen. This can drastically affect your energy levels, leading to weight gain and lethargy.
- Boosts Blood Flow. In addition to oxygen deprivation, slouching posture also affects blood flow. Straighter posture promotes healthy blood flow, which may even prevent heart issues.
- Reduces Head and Neck P a i n. Bad posture often results in neck, head, and back p a i n that will only get worse if not corrected.
- Alleviates Headaches. Poor posture can regularly lead to tension headaches.
- Cure Numbness. The spine is part of the body’s central nervous system, which means a poorly positioned spine can result in limb numbness and even impaired bladder or bowel control.
- Prevent Depression. Poor posture isn’t just bad for your physical health – it may affect your mental health too. Research from San Francisco State University has actually found a link between bad posture and depression.
Can Posture Braces Help?
The goal of a posture brace is to retrain your musculature to naturally maintain proper posture.
Posture braces force and individual’s shoulders to sit back and upright. The position may be uncomfortable initially for those who have become accustomed to poor posture, but over time, the brace will alter your muscle memory so that you begin to hold yourself upright without thinking about it.
There is some controversy surrounding posture braces, as some doctors believe braces can weaken muscles as they become too reliant on the brace. Instead, they recommend regular posture exercises.
While overusing a posture brace might prevent muscles from improving, many of us who sit slumped over a computer can benefit from a brace to simply get our bodies into the habit of sitting up straight.
Once this muscle memory has been achieved, individuals should stop using the brace (or at least use it less frequently) to encourage proper muscle growth.
The key value of a posture brace is to improve muscle memory and habit – once that is achieved, the brace should be removed so that your body can develop those posture-strengthening muscles independently.
What to Consider When Shopping For A Posture Brace
When shopping for a posture brace, there are a few things to keep in mind, including:
- Comfort. You won’t be too likely to wear a posture brace if it isn’t at least semi-comfortable. Some braces are meant to be worn all day long (although many can be worn less frequently and still be very effective), so you don’t want a brace that will be causing you p a i n and irritation.
- Size. Some posture braces were created to be one-size-fits-all, while others will come in a several sizes. Your comfort level is partially dictated by the correct brace size, so make sure to pick the right one for your body type.
- Cost. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra on a posture brace. This is not a product where you’ll want to go with the cheapest option. You want something that is durable, will last a long time, and is machine washable, for connivence.
Type of Posture Braces
Depending on your needs, you will find that there are different types of posture braces.
1. Standard Posture Braces
Standard posture braces are commonly made of soft nylon straps that are worn over your shoulders. These posture braces work by pressing your thoracic spine in the middle of your back, guiding your shoulders into retracting.
As a result, your upper spine and neck will straighten, and your chest will push outward in a proper posture position.
2. Support Bands and Belts
Posture support bands are similar to traditional posture braces, but follow a slightly different design. Posture support bands can be worn around your lower back, or your lumbar spine.
Support bands are often used to prevent hunching over, and also to give you extra support when you are lifting heavy objects. However, studies have proven that this method does not do a lot to protect your spine when you do heavy lifting.
3. Posture Bras
Posture bras offer the same kind of support as a brace, but in the form of a a bra. These are especially convienent for women, who can wear posture bras under their everyday clothing.
Posture bras can be especially beneficial for individuals with bust-related posture issues.
4. Posture Shirts
Posture shirts are very similar to traditional braces, but are usually made out of elastic rather than nylon. Posture shirts come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Some posture shirts use inner elastic bands to compress certain muscles to help keep your body straight.
They also have the added benefit of discretion, as they resemble a normal workout shirt.
Which Type of Posture Brace Should I Choose?
The best type of posture brace for you depends on your unique needs.
If you are currently having sore back and neck issues, or have developed acute postural issues, like rolled shoulders, then a standard posture brace might be your best choice. You will find that these braces are more firm, and give you a higher quality support to guide your back into a proper sitting posture.
A posture shirt will work if you are just trying to stop beginning posture related issues. Posture shirts have the added benefit of being discreet, resembling normal clothing. If you feel like you are starting bad posture habits, the posture shirt will provide you with the moderate support you need.
Posture bras are designed specifically for women, and are an especially good choice if you are suffering from bust related neck and back problems.
Posture Brace vs Back Brace: What’s The Difference?
Posture braces and back braces can be used with similar effectiveness, but are actually designed for different purposes.
Posture braces are used to improve your comfort level, and they mostly designed to support your shoulders, or clavicle area, and the upper back. They help your posture by preventing slumping by pulling your shoulders back. Your body is then trained over a period of time to sit up straight in more of a therapeutic manner.
The back brace, on the other hand, fits around your lower back, and was created to restrict your movement when you have a serious injury, like a strain or sprain. They also can be used to support you while you are lifting heavy objects. Some back braces are created to treat more serious medical conditions like Scoliosis.
Posture Safety: Don’t Wear A Brace 24/7
It’s worth noting that most posture braces should not be worn 24/7. Most are designed to be worn between 30 minutes to a few hours each day.
Remember, the goal of a posture trace is to re-train your muscle memory – not become a crutch!You should never use a posture brace for many hours over an extended period of time, as you won’t get as much muscle development when depending on a brace.
Adjustable Corrector Brace
The Corrector Brace is a neoprene posture brace that promises p a i n relief from injuries and encourages proper posture.
The Posture Corrector is especially good for those who work at a computer, as the brace pulls back rounded shoulders, which commonly fall forward when sitting at a screen.
It features shoulder velcro straps that can be adjusted for a perfect fit, and breathable, latex-free material to help keep your back from getting heated and sweaty.
The Posture Corrector aims to relieve spinal pressure on your discs, reduce p a i n, and lessen i n f l a m m a t i on resulting from bad posture.
The device claims to be thin enough that it can be worn under your clothes without calling attention, allowing for all day use (although product info suggests starting off at 15-25 minutes and increasing more time as your muscles grow).
- Works well for small to medium sized individuals
- Many report that is successfully relieves muscle tension and corrects posture
- Users say they can feel it correcting their posture as it is worn
- Clever, convienent design