The power of good posture

(CNN) – Is there a quick fix to look slimmer, taller and more confident all while improving your health? It turns out there is, and you don’t have to be a movie star to get it.

“Stand up straight!”

“Sit up.”

It sounds like nagging, but it’s actually healthful advice.

“Good posture is aligning your joints and your body in a way that puts the least strain on your muscles,” says Dr. Diana Sodiq of Emory Orthopedics & Spine Center.

But Dr. Sodiq says we often have bad posture. The biggest mistakes made while sitting are jutting the head forward, slumping the shoulders, crossing the legs, and leaning to one side, especially when driving.

Dr. Sodiq says, “If you have bad posture over time, you can have neck pain, headaches, upper back pain, low back pain and overuse injuries.”

You can actively work to improve your posture.

To sit properly: “Her feet are flat on the floor. Her hips are all the way back against the chair, her back is all against the chair, and then her head is neutral.”

To check your standing posture, try the wall test. Stand about two inches away from a wall. If you have good posture, your shoulders, head, and buttocks should all touch the wall with enough space to slide one hand behind your lower back.

Sitting or standing, here’s a tip for good posture:

“Imagine a string pulling from your head to the ceiling,” said Dr. Sodiq.

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