Have you ever looked around and noticed people’s posture? You’ll probably notice that most people are slightly hunched over. (Including, yes, yourself.) This can be directly associated with our culture, as many of us sit at our computers all day and/ or are continuously looking down at our cell phones.
Unfortunately, these totally normal but (frankly) bad postural habits can lead to lasting negative effects on the body if not corrected. (Think neck and back pain, and ultimately spinal injury.) Good posture, on the other hand, is correlated with positive attitudes, confidence, and a healthy spine. And while it may not easy to sit up and stand straight after years of poor posture, the good news is that it’s within our control to improve our posture—all we need is the proper knowledge and a bit of practice.
So! Here are five tips for better posture.
It’s worth noting that the process of implementing each and every one of these tips is just that: A process. Be patient with yourself, dedicate the necessary time and energy, and make it a priority to sit up and stand straight.
1. When standing, keep even weight distribution on the inner and outer arches of feet, as well as the ball mound and heel. (In yoga, we refer to this as the “four corners of the feet”.) A strong foundation is step one of good posture.
2. When seated, scoot to the edge of your seat and withstand the urge to lean back. Also: Hold yourself upright. This is a reassurance of our strength to sit up rather than rounding the spine and leaning back.
3. Pack light. Don’t carry heavy purses or backpacks. If you do use a backpack or large bag, make sure to have the straps over both shoulders to keep weight evenly distributed. Never overload the back, and make sure your bag is fitted appropriately to support the back.
4. Take breaks! (This is a rule of thumb for general health and sanity, not just posture.) It’s good to get up and move around every 30-60 minutes when working on a computer or sitting at a desk; it gives the mind time to relax and refresh while the body gets fluids moving and relieves aching muscles. So, take a quick walk and stretch it out.
5. Root your feet into the earth. Not only does this help cultivate grounding energy and help us feel rooted and secure, but it serves as a suggestion to build a solid foundation as we lengthen the spine. Establishing this support system under the feet also increases confidence while encouraging freedom in the upper body.
A few more ways to keep your body in tip-top shape:
- A case for the rest day.
- Five ways to make exercise a daily habit.
- Why jumping on a trampoline is more effective than running on a treadmill.
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