I’ve lately been trying to improve my posture. I remember the exact moment I decided to stop worrying about my posture. Embarrassingly enough, I remember a group of the “cool girls” slouching in their desk chairs early in high school and I figured that would help make me cool, too. (Or something similar – high school girl thoughts are sometimes crazy.) Today, I know how crazy that sounds – being myself and showing my true colors is the best way to be a great friend. But neither here nor there, now my posture is terrible.
(Confession: This picture is from the last time I tried this goal. Let’s hope I’m stronger this time around!)
So let’s start with why I want to improve my posture. Good posture:
- Reduces muscle pain, joint strain, and headaches
- Improves mood and energy levels
- Means your bones are properly aligned and your muscles, joints and ligaments can work as nature intended
- Means your vital organs are in the right position and can function at peak efficiency
- Helps contribute to the normal functioning of the nervous system.
- Drives lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone)
- Exudes vibrancy, confidence, and joy
- It’s just as important for your system as exercising, eating right, getting a good night’s sleep, or avoiding harmful substances
If you’re feeling like you want to join me in improving your posture, then let’s work together to look like pretty ballerinas that exude confidence, power, and grace. Some tips that I’ve learned that have been helpful as I start this journey are below. I hope that these tips help you stand up straight in the future, too!
- Retract your shoulder blades and pull them back – Envision holding a pencil between your shoulder blades to activate your rhomboids and middle traps. I’ve heard that these are weak in 95% of the adult population. While I have no idea if this is true, let’s be the 5%!
- Contract your ab muscles – Isometrically contract your abdominal muscles to align your spine and maintain the posture you’re working hard to achieve.
- When sitting in a chair all day, try this exercise – Slowly look toward your knees, then slowly look up towards the ceiling. Go back and forth while rounding your back, then gently arching your back when looking up. Repeat this movement until you find an easy, upright sitting posture again.
- Try out “The Wall Test” – Stand with the back of your head touching the wall and your heels six inches from the baseboard. With your booty touching the wall, check the distance with your hand between your lower back and the wall, and your neck and the wall. If you can get within an inch or two at the low back and two inches at the neck, you are close to having excellent posture. If not, work is needed to perfect the curves of your spine.
- Or, if you’re a fan, try out “The Mirror Test”
(Front view) Stand facing a full length mirror and check for the following:
- Your shoulders are level
- Your head is straight
- The spaces between your arms and sides seem equal
- Your hips are level, your kneecaps face straight ahead
- Your ankles are straight
(Side View) Check for the following:
- Head is erect, not slumping forward or backwards
- Chin is parallel to the floor, not tilting up or down
- Shoulders are in line with ears, not drooping forward or pulled back
- Stomach is flat
- Knees are straight
- Lower back has a slightly forward curve (not too flat or not curved too much forward, creating a hollow back)
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
What tips have you learned to help you improve your posture? Please leave any tips you’ve heard in the comments section below!
Create a great life!