Posture is the way that we distribute our body’s weight onto our tissues so that they can easily and efficiently respond and adapt to that weight. Good posture is about presenting yourself with grace and confidence. Good posture also plays an important part of your long-term health. Not slouching and holding your body the right way is important to avoid pain, injuries, and other health problems.
There are two types of posture:
- Dynamic posture: This is how you carry yourself when walking, running, or bending over to pick up something.
- Static posture: This is how you hold yourself when you stationary such as when you are sitting, standing, or sleeping.
It’s important to make sure that you maintain both dynamic and static posture. The key to good posture is the position of your spine, which has three natural curves – at the neck, mid back, and low back. Correct posture should maintain these curves, not increase them. Your head should be above your shoulders, and the top of your shoulder should be over the hips (medlineplus.gov).
Here are 5 ways to achieve a good, healthy posture:
- Stand up tall: Straighten up – don’t slouch and act as if you’re constantly carrying a pile of books on your head. Make it a habit to sit and stand up straight. Bring your chest up and your shoulders back, and keep your knees straight and belly tucked in. To make it a habit, you can ask your friends to remind you to stand up straight any time they find you’re slouching or set up an alarm that goes off every ten minutes or so, reminding you to check to see if you are sitting up straight. Fitness experts say that following this can help you sit and stand straight within two weeks!
- Stretch and loosen your pushing muscles: To make things comfortable, many people tend to slump on a chair. If you get used to this, your supporting muscles will start losing strength. So practice sitting properly. This will works your core, buttock muscles and back extensions and soon put you back on track.
Sitting at a desk for several hours with your hands on a keyboard or riding your bike in the aero or drop position, can result in tight chest muscles that can pull you forward into rounded-back slouch. If you have tight pushing muscles, stretching them out on a regular basis is a good place to start. Some good stretches to loosen tight chest muscles are:
- Doorway pectoral stretch
- Stability ball stretch
- Elbow wrap stretch
- Hands-behind-the-back chest stretch
- Keep the core tight: Keep your tummy tight by drawing the stomach in. This will help keep the bracing muscles of the spine firm, engaged, and firing correctly. Practice this patiently. This ability to keep your stomach drawn in all day reveals how much endurance you have in the bracing muscles of the spine. Moreover, if your core is strong, it takes a load off your shoulders, which allows you to maintain much better posture for much longer.
- Stay active: Regular exercise can improve the range of motion in the joints and help the muscles move more efficiently. Exercise may also help you to reach or maintain a healthy weight. Certain types of exercises that focus on body awareness, such as yoga and tai chi, can be especially helpful. It is also a good idea to do exercises that strengthen your core (muscles around your back, abdomen, and pelvis).
- Wear the right shoes: For healthy and good posture. avoid wearing high heels, which can throw off your balance and force you to walk differently. It might put you in stress especially on your muscles and on your nerves that cause back pain and can harm your posture. Choose right size and also the right kind of shoes for correct alignment. A lower, chunky heel for daily wear could be an ideal option.
These strategies can help you achieve good posture and make you look taller, which will also help improve your self-esteem and overall health.