What does your posture look like? Improve it with these simple tips.
Do you notice how people who sit straight or stand tall seems to exude a certain amount of confidence? They may be shy and reserved, but if they have good posture, they appear strong and bold. On the other hand, people who slouch look lazy, tired, or insecure. How often do you find yourself in the second category? It may be way too often. Good posture doesn’t come naturally for most people. Instead, it’s something you have to work on.
Proper posture increases confidence, and it also helps relieve back pain, makes you look younger, improves core strength, helps you breath easier, and makes you more productive. So take the following steps to sit straighter, stand taller, and feel better all around.
Step 1: Take an Assessment
How would you rate your posture? Look at yourself in a mirror as you sit or stand and notice where your trouble areas are. Is your neck bent forward, shoulders curved in, or back slouched? What are the situations in which you find yourself slouching? Answering these questions can help determine how best to remedy poor posture.
Step 2: Take Note
Check your posture at regular intervals during the day as you sit at your desk, drive in your car, or stand at the cashier checkout line. If your posture is out of line, fix it.
For proper posture, your body should be in alignment. When sitting or standing, your back, hips, shoulders, and ears should line up and body weight be evenly distributed. As you stand, your weight should be evenly felt on each foot. If your ears are past the midline of your shoulders, move your head back. See your shoulders? They’re too rounded and you’ll need to push back. Is your spine curved? Stand or sit up straight.
Crossing your legs, tilting your head, or leaning over while you sit can cause poor posture. Sometimes, using a lumbar support on your lower back or sitting on the edge of a chair rather than leaning back can help relieve pressure on your muscles and promote good posture.
Step 3: Take Breaks
Sitting or standing in the same position for long periods can tire and tighten your muscles, making poor posture more likely. To keep this from happening, plan to take frequent breaks from what you’re doing. Get up and walk around or sit down for a few minutes to rest.
Every half hour during the day, get up and do a rotation of neck, arm, shoulder, and back stretches to increase your range of motion and loosen up tight muscles.
Step 4: Take Exercise Seriously
Your core (the abdominal and low back muscles that support your spine and pelvis) plays a large role in your ability to maintain good posture. One of the best ways to improve posture is by doing regular exercises that strengthen these muscles.
The movements done in both yoga and Pilates are effective at strengthening your core and improving flexibility. Weight-bearing exercises like lifting weights, walking, or tennis are also recommended to help remedy poor posture. When you’re in good physical shape and your muscles are strong, it’s a lot easier to hold your body in line for long periods of time.
Work in at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise into your schedule and you’ll find that good posture becomes easier and easier. Pretty soon you won’t even have to think twice about it.
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