How To Improve Your Posture
Chest out, belly in – we all know the importance of good posture. An upright posture not only looks good but is also healthy for the entire body and musculoskeletal system. It is also crucial for the health of the back, preventing the pain and tension that often occur. However, as many of us spend most of our time in front of the computer for long periods, we are at risk of spinal damage. Constant bending can cause the spine to become overloaded as the pressure and force consume it to the point of permanent damage. What’s worse, a reversal back to the correct posture might no longer be possible. Need some help improving your posture? Here, we will help you understand the importance of good posture along with 10 tips to help improve posture.
1. Know The Correct Body Position
The first step to adopting a healthy posture is knowing the correct position to stand or sit. The common phrase ‘chest out and belly in’ is not said in vain when it comes to preventing the hunchback look. Although it sounds so simple, it may not be so easy to adopt, hence the importance of first identifying how you should maintain the position of body posture correctly.
To stand correctly, your body should be well aligned with the shoulders facing outwards, chin raised, chest out, abdomen in and legs and spine straight. It is also important to keep your back and shoulders straight when you are walking or when you are standing or working while sitting. If you shrink them, you will encourage a bad posture that can lead to back or shoulder problems later on.
With the help of a mirror, you can find the posture that matches all these characteristics. You can also lean against a wall by having your head, shoulders and buttocks touch the wall; don’t worry if you feel uncomfortable at first, over time you will get used to it.
2. Create A Habit
Maintaining the correct posture even when you are sitting will prevent you from going stooping over time. Start by aligning your back well with the back of the chair and keep the shoulders slightly back and the head and feet facing forward.
Since many people usually sit in a chair for several hours, they usually lose their posture after a while hence why it’s vital to be consistent in your practice. You can even place notifications on our cell phone or computer – this way, you will build a habit and avoid the dreaded hunchback.
Most importantly, educate your back at all times, even if you are going to answer a message on your cell phone, make sure you keep the correct position. Even answering the phone, lift your phone to your head so that your neck does not have to bend.
3. Go Ergonomic
Many of us are busier today than ever and juggle our time between work, family, personal relationships and commitments. We have less time, less privacy and more stress than ever before. Sadly, stress and anxiety can cause great harm to your body if left unchecked. When heavily accumulated, the stress hormone ‘cortisol’, can lead to weight gain, which in turn leads to a whole range of other health problems as such bad posture.
Additionally, as newer studies continue to highlight the negative effects of stress that may be caused by a sedentary lifestyle, more and more companies are starting to promote health place wellbeing and now offer friendlier, more ergonomic office equipment such as a standing desk – a new trend that brings many health benefits. No doubt, long sitting hours at work are bound to affect the back, arms, hands and pretty much the whole body. However, with the right ergonomic office gear that also includes a standing desk mat, your body will certainly thank you later.
4. Practice Pilates
One of the most outstanding disciplines to improve body posture is pilates and if you’re not a big fan of exercise and strenuous fitness, pilates could be something for you! The benefits of Pilates are the fluid exercises that do not overtax your body but still help to protect your joints and strengthen your muscles. In addition to strengthening the whole body as well as improving flexibility, each exercise is excellent to improve body posture. You will see how your back will be better and better.
Another reason that Pilates is so popular is due not only to the incredible physical improvement that the practice offers but also to the tremendous psychological benefits. Those who regularly take Pilates lessons confirm that they are feeling much better both mentally and emotionally.
5. Wear Quality Shoes
As important as doing exercises to improve posture, it is also important to use good footwear when walking. A matching footbed is not only important for postural problems, but also a blessing for much stressed healthy feet. As we walk, our feet cushion tremors, carrying the full weight of the body, and keeping the body in balance – a tough stress test that requires all the support.
Even though fashion and trends tend to be less designed for comfort, it is always worth taking a look inside the shoe. Wearing high-quality shoes prevents the development of possible postural and spinal problems as well as foot deformities. It is, therefore, important to deal with the topic of foot health and especially the effect of a good footbed as early as possible and always pay attention to the presence of a footbed when buying shoes.
6. Practice Yoga
Practicing yoga can help to improve your posture and ensure that your body is in optimal working condition. It is a physical and mental discipline that assists in the maintenance of an overall healthy body. It will give you strength, endurance, agility, flexibility, as well as provide enough energy to start your day with a positive attitude.
When it comes to the benefits of yoga, it doesn’t just stop at postural alignment; from reducing stress to lowering blood pressure, there are a variety of other positives that come from a good yoga practice. This also includes weight loss – it’s not just a bunch of hocus-pocus.
When the body has to deal with a huge amount of weight, it becomes weighed down causing postural misalignment. The spine will tend to compensate by bending (either forward or backward) to try to find a new stabilization. This situation, maintained in time, gives rise to an unnatural curvature of the back.
However, when trying to lose weight, many people believe that they have to walk for miles each day to see a weight loss on the scale. This could not be further from the truth because long-distance running is actually scientifically proven to increase cortisol levels in the body; cortisol is the stress hormone that causes weight gain and stubborn belly fat and has also shown to affect our blood sugar levels.
The good news is that regular yoga practice has been shown to lower cortisol levels and can also help burn calories, build muscle and burn fat out of your body! Many yoga practitioners have also experienced a decrease in joint and muscle stiffness as well as an increase in flexibility and muscle strength.
7. Improve Your Sleep Posture
Many people suffer from back pain because they do not sleep properly. If you suspect that your bad posture is due to a bad sleeping habit, start by analyzing your memory foam mattress to check if it has lost elasticity at the end. It is also important to check the position in which you sleep. Although when you sleep we are not aware of our position, you can accommodate yourself correctly before falling asleep.
To prevent postural problems occurring, a good sleeping position to adapt is to lie on your back in a way that your shoulders and backstays aligned with the mattress – this way, you will not lose your posture so easily. On the other hand, if you are one who enjoys sleeping on the side, try placing a pillow between your knees to help keep the spine straight. Also, avoid sleeping on your stomach or with your neck bent. Use only a pillow of the right size as the excess of pillows can damage your neck and you can also use it.
8. Exercise Regularly00
If you are the type to sit hours on end at a gaming desk with a hunched back and stiff fingers, some regular exercise will do you some good. There are countless exercises to improve your posture, but the key is in the routine: the more regular your exercises are, the happier your body and mind are. The below exercises are easy and will not take much time and effort to integrate into your everyday life.
- Picking an apple: This is a simple stretching exercise that can help you loosen up the back muscles. Stand shoulder-deep with your toes pointed straight or slightly outward. Your pelvis and shoulders should stay in a line over your heels. Now stretch your right arm upwards and do a cross-sweep, as if you were trying to pick an apple that hangs high up on a tree. Let your arms sink again and repeat the exercise alternately with the left and the right arm, about 10-20 times.
- Back pressure relief: Lie on your back and bend your legs so that there is a 90 ° angle at the hips and knees. The lower legs can rest on a chair or exercise ball with your hands lying loosely and the palms facing down. Hold this relaxed position for at least one minute.
- Crane: This next exercise loosens the upper back muscles and also trains your back and side abdominal muscles. Sit on the floor and bend your legs with your back straight. Place a gym ball, shoe box, or another object that is large and relatively light to the right of you. Lift the object with both hands on your left side and turn it only the upper body. Let the object touch the ground briefly without releasing it completely before transporting it to the right again. Repeat this exercise slowly and fluently for about 10-20 times.
- Planks: Planks train the entire support muscles for improved posture alignment. Start by going into the push-up position, but use your forearms as support instead of your hands. Your elbows should stay under the shoulders and your hands should be formed into fists. Your heels, buttocks, back, and head should form a straight line. Now, span the abdominal muscles, buttocks, and thighs and hold the plank for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat this exercise three times. However, with the next set, you can increase the time you hold the plank.
9. Practice Meditation
If your bad posture is the result of stress or bad thoughts, the regular practice of meditation, 30 minutes a day can be used to increase postural awareness. Hardly any technique is underestimated as much as meditation and hardly any technique has such diverse, life-changing and positive effects on the mind and body.
Meditating with your legs crossed on the floor helps to train the muscles, prevent headaches, backaches, neck pain and tension. With such valuable protection, we will then adopt the right attitude not only at work but also in our relationships as well as overcoming bad habits.
10. Practice Gratitude
What many of us are sometimes unaware of is that the correct posture not only has externally visible effects; it extends much more than that. A bad posture also has a major impact on our self-confidence because our physical signals influence our self-image. Surprisingly, even the reverse can happen – our mental state of mind can also affect our posture. When our minds are too preoccupied or stressed out, our posture suffers and our supporting organs will no longer be protected, they won’t function for better for optimal performance of our mental and physical state. And the moment you start experiencing problems such as back pain and headaches, often negative routines have already crept in.
The same goes for the inner consequences of a bad attitude: When we make ourselves feel bad, our posture reacts. However, by practicing gratitude, you will subconsciously improve both your posture and your self-confidence and will be rewarded with a more positive charisma.
People with a healthy posture are often even considered more competent – this, in turn, gives you positive feedback from those around you. Eventually, your body and psyche will thank you and let’s be honest: Even though it can sometimes be exhausting to always sit up straight or stand straight, it just feels better and right after all.