Slouching is bad for your back, and makes you look slovenly. Here are some tips for a better posture.
This obvious remedy was probably already suggested to you as a child by a parent or teacher. It’s true: the first step to better posture is to sit up straight. If you have a desk job, this is especially important. Consciously keep your shoulders back and avoid slouching forward while sitting or walking. Align your back with the back of the chair, and be conscious of falling forward into the desk. If this is painful or difficult to do, you might need a better chair to support your weight and your height. It is helpful to many to use a lumbar support pillow or a rolled-up towel in the small of the back.
If you have a hard time not slouching, or if staying sitting with your shoulders back is uncomfortable, you might need to get up and walk around several times a day to move out of the sitting position. If you want to become very proactive in your better posture quest, as well as possibly increase energy and stay more awake during the workday, think about getting a standing desk. Another interesting option is an exercise ball chair, which works your core muscles throughout the day, and helps posture all at the same time.
Picture yourself as being very tall as you walk. If you tend to stare at the ground, text, or stare at your smartphone as you walk, try to get out of that habit. Always keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders pinned back as you walk. Pretend you have an apple or a book balanced on your back, and walk along, with good posture.
Stretching exercises and yoga poses can be especially good for posture, as well as reducing back pain caused by poor posture. Here are a few exercises to try:
*Cat-Cow Pose: Start out on all fours, on your knees. Stretch your spine up and let your head drop to the floor, like a cat arching its back. Feel the stretch through your spine, and take a deep breath in through your nose. Now, breathe out through your mouth, and let your abdomen drop toward the floor. Look up toward the ceiling, and tip your tailbone upward, stretching your hips as your back arches into “cow” pose.. Repeat this four or five times.
*Child’s Pose: Child’s pose is another great way to stretch your back. Do this for 5 minutes morning and evening for better posture and less back pain. Start out on hands and knees, with the knees shoulders width apart and the great toes touching one another. Crawl yourself forward with your hands until your arms are straight out ahead of you, and your forehead is lightly resting on the floor. Slowly drop the hips back until they rest on the heels. Stay here, taking up to 10 deep breaths, and feeling the deep stretch with each breathing cycle.
*Chest Stretch: Begin a deep chest stretch standing up, or if you are currently having back pain, by sitting on the ground with legs stretched in front of you. Reach both arms down and back, stretching the arms. Attempt to interlace your fingers behind your back. If you can’t reach, hold on to opposite ends of a small towel or belt. Keeping your neck relaxed, and looking straight forward, lift the chest and elongate the torso. Reach the arms toward the floor. Feel the deep chest stretch as you take five deep, slow breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Don’t Recline While Driving
Like your desk, your car might be a place where you spend a lot of the day. Avoid slouching or leaning the seat back, even on long drives. Keep the knees bent but relaxed, and put the seat up enough that you are sitting up straight. Employ an arrow posture band, a lumbar support pillow, or a rolled-up towel to help.
Save High Heels For Special Occasions
High heels undermine good posture by throwing off the center of gravity. Anyone who has spent a long night in heels knows the hip, back, leg, and foot pain that they can cause. Do yourself and your posture a favor by skipping heels most of the time, or keeping heels low, with a wide base.