Six Ways to Improve Your Posture

postureposesOver time, gravity and bad habits can take their toll on your body and try to declare victory over the structural muscles that keep our bones and muscles aligned. The result is poor posture.

Classic signs of poor posture include rounded shoulders, a jutted chin, a pot belly, bent knees when standing or walking, back pain, muscle fatigue, and headaches. While we can’t fight gravity, we can take control of posture and do things the help keep muscles strong and your body trained for better posture.

1  Know what good posture looks like. Check yourself out in a mirror. Good posture while standing is a straight back, squared shoulders, chin up, chest out, stomach in, feet forward, your hips and knees in a neutral position. If you can draw a straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee, to the middle of your ankle, you’re good!

2  Sit up straight. Your mom was right. Use a chair that offers lower back support and sit all the way back against the back of the chair. Keep both feet on the ground or footrest. Adjust the height so your arms are flexed at 75-90 degrees at the elbow. Use this technique when driving, too!

3  Think when you walk. Concentrate on walking with your head up, shoulders back, chest out and eyes looking straight ahead.

4  Use good form in the gym. Muscle memory is important and training muscles to over- or under-flex or extend is not good. Watch yourself as you workout to keep your core straight and your overall posture aligned. If you have questions, ask a personal trainer for help.

5  Sleep right. A firmer mattress will help maintain back support. If you sleep on your side, use a thinner or memory foam pillow. Try not to sleep on your stomach as much. If you neck is sore in the morning, it’s 99% because of your pillow.  Change it.

6  Stretch, a lot. Ever seen a cat or dog when they wake up? They do this glorious all limb stretch. Try it when you wake up.  It feels good! Maintain flexibility and strength in your limbs by stretching at least twice a day, especially before or after heavy physical activity. Try yoga, too, it can make a huge difference in how your body holds itself both in motion and at rest.

Working on these steps over time will improve your posture.  If you need help, talk to a qualified massage therapist.  They’ll help assess your posture and conduct therapeutic bodywork sessions to help retrain and stabilize muscle tissue that will help you reach your goals faster.