Everyone knows your posture is very important. How you sit, how you stand, and how you move around affects your bones, muscles, joints, and even your internal organs. Small changes in your posture can have an affect many years down the road. Good posture will maintain flexibility, integrity, and function in your body. Bad posture will slowly break down bones and joints, and can severely alter your body's mechanics as you age.

Test yourself: Are you always carrying your (heavy) purse on the same shoulder every day? Are you always talking on the phone with your shoulder holding the phone against your ear? Are you always slouching when you work on the computer or doing homework? These postures won't have an immediate effect -- but continue doing the same thing for a year, two years, and you'll start feeling achy at first, then perhaps sharp pain, and then finally excruciating pain shooting into your arms or legs. Guess what also happens -- you'll start developing arthritis really fast. And once you have arthritis in your joints, you have it for the rest of your life!

Always try to take small breaks throughout your day. The best is do switch every 30 minutes. If you've been sitting for 30 minutes, stand up and stretch and talk a 2 minutes walk. If you've been standing or walking for 30 minutes, sit down and rest for 2 minutes. Cut down on your stress -- don't overwork yourself. Those stress hormones inside your body can very slowly deteriorate all parts of your body without you even realizing it.

To learn about stretching, click here.

Simple Guidelines for Good Posture
Sitting Try sitting a little straighter by sitting all the way back in your chair so that the back of the chair touches your lower back. The bend in your knees and hips should be about 90 degrees. Relax your arms and shoulders, and try keeping your head in a natural, neutral position
Standing Try standing with your back relatively flat -- don't arch your lower back to the rear. Placing one foot on a small, low stool can help relieve low back pressure. Bend your knees if you are leaning forward.
Lifting Always, always, always, always, use your knees to lift. Never, never, never, never, lift using your back. While lifting, try to keep your back upright. Get assistance with heavier things.

Some Posture Do's and Don'ts