Like many little girls, I spent a majority of my youth in ballet slippers perfecting my arabesque and chassé. I dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina. Within weeks of my first lesson I became obsessed and proclaimed to my parents that I would only walk around our home on my tiptoes. While my ballet days are far behind me, there is one thing that has stuck with me: Posture! Even though my dancing days are over, posture is something I still work constantly to counter balance the negative effects of my forward moving activities (running, cycling, computer work, driving, etc). I’ve come to truly appreciate the value of good posture. For many posture is a habit that haunts them throughout their days, and they might not even know that it could be undermining their fitness efforts.
Do you slouch in your office chair at work? Are you starting to notice rounded shoulders with your neck protruding forward? Do you stand up at 5 P.M. and feel like your back resembles a question mark? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you are part of a growing trend of people who experience postural problems from our culture’s constant state of sitting.
Slouching throughout the day forces chest muscles to tighten, which in turn pulls the spine forward and rotates the shoulders inward, all while weakening the muscles of the upper back that aid in posture. In other words, you start looking like a hunchback and may experience pain in your neck, lower back, and even arms and legs.
Not only can poor posture have negative effects on your physique (increased belly fat, double chin and varicose veins), it can also have serious implications on your health (heart strain, pinched nerves). Plus, if you’re a go-getter, posture is a must! In today’s culture, good posture communicates confidence, alertness and strength. All of these are key traits of success. Considering these facts, I thought I’d share a few of my best tips for keeping your posture in check:
Tips for Perfect Posture
- Work it OUT. Follow a balanced exercise program that incorporates corrective exercises for good posture. Try exercises that relieve chest tightness, strengthen upper back muscles, and strengthen your core. Choose to work these exercises into your routine regularly. Not sure which exercises to do? Lucky for you I designed a posture workout just for you. These exercises are a sample of what you can do to improve your posture and look as tall as you feel. Always be sure to consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program and you are good to go!
- Time it. Human beings are not designed to sit in an office all day, we are built to move! Every hour, get out of your office chair and move. Even 1-2 minutes of simple chest opening exercises and stretches can work wonders.
- Think up! If you feel your head or shoulders jut forward, pull them back and act as if a string were pulling you up from the top of your head.
- Sit Tall. Establish good posture at your desk: Sit with your back against your chair and feet flat on the floor. When you look at a computer screen, your eyes should be level with the center of it. If they aren’t, raise or lower the monitor.
- Remind yourself. As with all new habits, remind yourself often to straighten up!
A few more pointers on posture:
When you’re sitting: Remember to keep your neck and back in line. Also, your legs should be at a 90-degree angle to your body for optimal posture and comfort. Here is a helpful infographic showcasing proper seated posture:
When you’re standing: Keep most of the weight on the balls of your feet with your neck and back in alignment, with your stomach tucked in and shoulder blades pulled back.
When you’re lifting something: Did you know there is a proper way to lift things? Instead of bending at the waist to pick something up, it’s best to bend your knees to lower first, and then lift.
And there you have it! Do you work on your posture? What things to you do to make sure you stand tall?
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