Improve Your Posture
If there’s one thing all loungers, hard workers, athletes, parents, and everyone in between should aspire to obtain, it’s good posture. Working on your posture is different from getting back into shape or trying to eat healthier. Your body craves being in a good, upright postural position, which is often compromised with such factors as poor positioning at your desk or bad habits like slouching while standing. Bad habits and uncomfortable living or work environments create tension for your whole body, which can affect your body’s natural alignment.
What does it mean to have bad posture? Your muscles and ligaments are all naturally positioned specifically for your spine and are unique only to you. However, when you begin to fall into poor postural habits your muscles begin to shift to accommodate for this change. This continued shift alters your muscular balance with added tension to some muscles and weakness/laxity to other muscles causing added strain to your back, neck, and other areas of your body. This poor muscular balance can lead to those dreaded 9 to 5 aches and pains.
With practice, sitting up straight is as easy as it sounds.
Why Good Posture is Great for You
Besides decreasing back, shoulder, and neck pain, your body alignment can offer a host of other benefits.
Better posture taps into your body’s overall wellbeing. Here’s a look at why good posture is essential to keeping your body moving.
- Keeps heartburn at bay: It all comes back to alignment. In addition to aligning joints and muscles, sitting up tall and straight gives your organs plenty of room to function properly, making digestion easier.
- Feel better for longer: We’ve mentioned how your joints benefit from good posture, but there’s more to it than injury prevention. We might experience neck and back pain due to bad posture, yet the increased wear and tear can lead to more severe conditions like arthritis if not corrected.
- Mind and body communication: Have you ever heard that posing like a superhero will boost your confidence? Power posing releases hormones that give you a sense of drive while decreasing stress. Sitting up straight will make you feel better physically and mentally.
Posture is essential for your overall health. Now it’s time to discuss how to make good posture your new habit.
Exercises for Posture
Great posture starts with a bit of practice. When in doubt, think about aligning your joints. Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your hips and knees at 90 degrees. Tuck your tailbone in and put weight on your sit bones rather than your back. If you don’t have good lumbar support for your chair, placing a rolled up towel at your low back can help you achieve good lumbar alignment. Whether you’re sitting or standing, make sure to keep your shoulders away from your ears in a relaxed position.
Once you start to feel your joints’ natural position, you can step it up a notch with some exercises.
- The Cobra
The cobra helps you maintain a straight, strong back. Practice the cobra by laying on your stomach with your hands flat on the floor next to your chest. Push your torso up so your back stretches but keep the lower half of your body on the floor. Your head and spine should be in a straight line. Then, lower back to the floor slowly. Be sure to only push up as high as you can without pain.
- Chest Opener
Opening up your chest keeps you from slouching forward and keeps your shoulders away from your ears. When opening your chest, clasp your hands behind your back and stretch your arms straight out behind you. Only push as far as is comfortable for you.
This exercise is excellent for stretching your spine through its full range of motion. Start on all fours with your palms resting comfortably on the ground. Arch your back toward the ceiling and let your head drop toward the floor. Slowly lower your spine toward the floor, arching your back downwards and lifting your head to the ceiling.
These are just a few of the great exercises to stretch your body out and optimally align your posture. After years of slouching good posture might seem unattainable but with Greater Therapy Centers you can get to where you want to be. It’s never too late to improve your mobility!