Don’t be a hunchback!
Building your body is a great idea; slouching isn’t. You don’t need to look like a marine but a straight spine radiates confidence and actually makes you feel better. This is because your physiology is directly linked to your emotions.
If you’re going to spend all that time working out and eating right, you might as well maximize your efforts by standing tall. Here’s 10 easy ways to improve your posture.
(1) The Balloon Method. My favorite technique and not very well known.
Try this: If you don’t have great posture, stand up right now. Now imagine that there is a balloon on a string extending from the crown of your head. Imagine that this balloon is pulling your head upwards towards the sky. You’ll automatically stand upright with your spine elongated. Doesn’t this little mind trick work great? If you keep doing this for a few weeks, the habit will stick and you’ll have corrected your posture.
(2) Move! If your job or school life involves a lot of sitting around, you’re more likely to slouch. As your muscles tire of being in the same position you’ll begin to slump down. You need more movement. For office jobs I suggest you make a habit of getting up and moving, even if just for a minute, once every 30 minutes.
(3) Keep the ears, shoulders and hips in alignment. Whether you’re standing or sitting keep these in a vertical line to improve your posture. Resist the temptation to push your head forward; start to notice if your ears are in line with your shoulders and correct if necessary.
(4) When Sitting – Get a chair with sufficient lumbar support! This means your chair’s backrest should have natural curve that fits into the hollow of your lower back. Basically when sitting down your spine should be in contact with the backrest from your tailbone right up to your upper back.
(5) When Sitting – Keep the soles of your feet flat on the floor.
(6) Avoid High-Heels – For the ladies. “Easy!” Say the men, “Not so easy!” say the women. When you don’t need to wear them, don’t. Heels alter the body’s center of gravity and throw it out of alignment. If heels are a must, consider the smaller types if you really want to improve your posture.
(7) Develop an awareness of your Posture – When people try to consciously improve their posture, they can often go for hours with poor posture before even remembering to correct it. This is the power of bad habits. To increase your awareness of the problem it’s a great idea to keep a visual reminder at the place where you spend most of your time. For example, if you sit at a desk a lot, make a sketch of a stick figure man on a post-it note. Then every time you see this sketch you’ll ask yourself, “How is my posture? Are my ears in-line with my shoulders? Are my feet flat on the floor?”
(8) Get confident! As stated previously, posture affects confidence but confidence also affects posture. The more confident you are, the better your posture will be. Confidence is nothing but a habit and can be learned. I may write an article on it in the near future.
(9) When bending over to pick something up don’t fold at the waist. Bend your knees, keep your spine straight and lift the object. Remember to keep a straight spine in ALL situations.
(10) Don’t over-do it! If you try to stay poker-straight, you’ll feel uncomfortable and eventually give-up on great posture. Allow flexibility in your neck and knees. Shift your body weight around often. A rigid body is not what you’re after! Your spine has a natural curve, you’re not aiming to be a robot. Simply remember the ear, shoulder and hip alignment – that’s sufficient for a healthy posture.
Stand Tall and Confident!