If you’ve ever found yourself crouched over your computer or had your shoulders huddled up to your ears when it gets chilly outside, odds are you’ve got less-than-perfect posture. While you’re not alone in the struggle to stand tall, it’s not something you should brush aside. Good posture is so important for your health, explains Dr. Emily Kiberd of the Urban Wellness Clinic in New York City, for a slew of reasons. “Good posture helps align the spine to allow proper breathing mechanics, prevents muscle strain, allows for good blood flow and circulation throughout the body, prevents wear and tear on your joints and can help you keep a clear mind, too,” Dr. Kiberd says.
And while you may think you’re standing up straight, symptoms liked swayed hips and jutted chins prove your posture needs some work, notes Kiberd. The good news? There are all kinds of tools to help improve you posture. A word of caution, though: Skip the back brace. “A back brace holds you up, rather than your muscles, causing them to get ‘lazy’ and to stop firing,” Dr. Kiberd warns. Check out these five tools that’ll help you address what ails you, once and for all.
5 Cool Products to Help Improve Posture
1. The Shirt
Put a…top on it? “Intelliskin shirts are a great way to retrain the muscles required for good posture as they remind specific muscles to fire,” says Dr. Kiberd. With its patented Posturecue Technology, the Intelliskin tops signal posture and core muscles to switch on and help align your shoulders, spine and trunk. We’re partial to the Men’s Essential Tee, which looks just like your favorite, well, white tee — but with all the body benefits. Keep in mind, though, if you hate tight duds, this layer will feel snug. ($95, intelliskin.net)
2. The Seat
Sure, ergonomic chairs are great. Balance ball chairs are even better, as they force you to stabilize your core and hold your back up. But when you’re not at the office all day and need to pop a squat, you can still sit straight with the Back Joy SitSmart Posture Plus. It automatically positions your body, tilting your hips upright and comfortably “floating” your spine over the seat. And since this baby’s waterproofed, you’ll be comfortable anywhere you go — beach included. (Really!) ($40, backjoy.com)
3. The Tracker
That’s right, wearable tech has officially moved beyond tracking your steps. Now, you can actually track your posture — and get notified via gentle vibration — when your spine is slacking off. Dutifully dubbed Upright Posture Trainer, it can be used with or without the corresponding app, available on both iOS and Android. Slap it on your back, lace it around your neck or stick in your shirt pocket; just make sure to calibrate it beforehand. ($129, uprightpose.com)
4. The Pants
While your neck, back, shoulder and chest muscles may be the main guns in charge when it comes to your posture, firing up your glutes will help with your alignment, too. The AlignMe Interactive Capri Leggings actively work and retrain your backside to be in its proper position while you sweat. Bonus: The wide waistband will stay put and has a hidden pocket for a credit card, ID and keys. ($90, alignmed.com)
5. The Pillow
Most common sleep position? On your side. The other? On your back. (Keep in mind, since this is self-reported, there’s room for error, since you’re not awake, of course.) Enter the Sleep Yoga Dual Position Neck Pillow, which works for both back and side sleepers alike. The pillow is specifically designed to contour the neck’s natural curve as well as cradle it when you switch sleeping positions — no pillow-folding necessary. ($50, sleep-yoga.com)
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