Posture – you’ve been warned to be aware of it all your life. From grade school teachers to the advent of standing desks in the workplace, the importance of good posture has always been stressed. But why?
Benefits Of Good Posture
Practicing good posture aligns your joints, bones, and vital organs so they can function at peak efficiency. Straightening out your spine can even help you save energy, physically perform at a higher level, breath better, and protect yourself from injury. Furthermore, strong posture shows confidence and some studies even claim it improves overall mood. With so much to gain, who wouldn’t want to perfect their posture?
Pristine Posture Defined
Optimally your natural stance should have a neutral spine. Your shoulders, knees, and hips should be stacked and your weight should be evenly distributed on each foot. Tailbone should be tucked and the chin should run parallel to the floor.
How can I get the best posture?
Achieving perfect posture is easier than you think. Try these eight proven ways to perfect posture and see results quickly:
- Imagine a string at the top of your headYou’ve probably heard this before, but imagining a string pulling your body up from the top of your head will help keep your posture strong and prevent you from letting your chest cave in or spine sway. While standing or sitting, take a deep breath and imagine the string pulling your entire body into alignment.
- Sit With Your Feet FlatFor many of us, a large portion of our days are spent sitting. Unfortunately it wrecks havoc on our bodies! Though etiquette may say it’s appropriate to cross your legs when sitting, sitting with your feet flat on the floor is best for your posture. Sitting flat footed instead of crossed allows your spine to remain straight.
- Take standing breaksAs the saying goes, sitting is the new smoking. Sitting for 8-12 hours each day increases chances of cardiovascular complications, cancer, and several chronic conditions. On top of that, sitting can often lead us to let go of our posture. Alleviate the negative impact siting has on your posture and take several standing breaks each day. If you can, stand up to stretch and move your body every 30 minutes.
- Stretch regularlyThough many of us forget to do it, stretching is essential to muscle health. Stretch first thing in the morning, throughout the day, at night, or all of the above if possible, to help maintain your posture. Incorporate forward bends and twists to stretch your back and roll your shoulders and neck to keep tension at bay. Massage is a tremendous way to stretch your muscles while relaxing.
- Sleep On Your BackSleeping on your side or stomach can put a large amount of strain on your spine and extremities. While sleeping on your side does elongate your spine, it can also put stress on your lower back and pelvis. Sleeping on your stomach is the least healthy way to sleep, as your spine is not neutral and your muscles are strained. Catching z’s on your back keeps your neck and spine neutral, which means that you’re more likely to wake up feeling aligned. Want go the extra mile? Place a small pillow under your knees to make sure your back is properly supported.
- Keep Your Core StrongAbs aren’t just for beach season. The abdominal muscles, the muscles in your core, are connected to your spine and pelvis. This means that these muscles move and stabilize your spine as you go about your daily activities. The stronger your core muscles are, the better protection they offer your spine, and the greater they can assist you in keeping your posture in pristine condition.
- Build Back StrengthStrengthening the muscles in your back will help protect your spine and prevent pain and injury. An easy way to strengthen the latissimus dorsi (the largest muscle in the back) is to inhale your shoulders towards your ears and then exhale, trying to push your shoulder blades into your back pockets. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat several times a day. You can also counteract the strain siting places on your back by lying on the floor with knees bent and your feet pressed to the floor. Raise your hips as high as you can and hold for a minute. This will stretch your hip flexors and strengthen the muscles that support your spine.
- Stay AlignedRemember the definition of pristine posture? Check in with yourself as frequently as possible to see if your posture is in line. Scan your body starting at your feet. Make sure your feet are flat and that your weight is distributed evenly. Engage your hamstrings and tuck your tailbone under. Your hips should be stacked directly above your knees and should not lean to either side or backwards. Pull your bellybutton to your spine, and engage the space between your rib cage. Peel your shoulders back and down, checking to make sure your neck is not jutting forward and your chin is parallel to the floor. Take a moment to let the feeling of alignment set in. Practice this body scan routine frequently until muscle memory sets in.
Try these 8 painless tips and watch your posture improve greatly. Once you focus your attention on posture, you might notice that you feel less achy and that your body feels lighter. If you need a boost, we can help. Booking a massage can help prime your body for posture perfection.