Posture is the position of your body when you’re standing or sitting. It describes how your spine is aligned with your head, shoulders, and hips. There’s no “perfect” posture, just as there are no perfect bodies. Good posture refers to having a neutral spine, where your muscle groups, joints, and ligaments are aligned in a way that reduces stress on them, keeps your body flexible, reduces fatigue, and helps maintain your balance.

If your posture is out of alignment, it can lead to:

  • muscle or joint strain
  • neck, head, or back pain
  • possible injury during exercise, work, or other activities

Bad or out-of-alignment posture is common. It can affect your appearance, self-confidence, and general well-being. The good news is that you can improve your posture with exercises and, if necessary, posture aids.

How to correct your posture

A first step in correcting your posture is to become aware of everyday habits that may be affecting how you stand, sit, or lie down. In other words, pay attention and be mindful of what you are doing in your daily activities.

Sometimes the “cure” is simple:

  • Change the configuration of your workstation.
  • Change your chair and the way you sit.
  • Change the position in which you look at your cell phone.
  • Buy a new mattress.

You can find some specific tips for avoiding or fixing tech neck here and here.

Other general fixes include:

  • Instead of high heels, opt for flats, wedges, or other more supportive footwear.
  • Breathe more deeply.
  • Practice walking properly.

When to see a doctor

If your poor posture is bothersome or noticeably problematic, see a doctor or other healthcare professional to determine what’s causing the problem. They may diagnose an underlying condition that can be treated, such as osteoporosis or arthritis.