Maintaining a good posture is not only about good looks, but also about improving the overall health of an individual. How we sit, stand and walk not only affects both our health and mood but also has a huge role to play in adding to the first impressions that we make. So, stop slouching and follow these steps to achieve good posture :
- Stand before a mirror and observe yourself, front, side and back on, in order to see for yourself where your problem is. Now stand comfortably with your feet apart, draw in your stomach, draw your pelvis up and stand with your shoulders down and back. Imagine a thread attached to your head, drawing you up to the ceiling such that you elongate and lengthen your body to the fullest capacity. Now look at your posture again and you will notice how different it is. You now look slimmer and taller. This is how your posture should ideally be. Be aware of this and make conscious efforts to maintain this posture throughout the day.
- Work your spine by lying down on a yoga mat or any similar comfortable setting. Stretch out your arms and legs straight ahead. Now lift one arm and the opposite leg and hold this position for a count of 10. Relax this position. Take deep breaths for a count of 5, then repeat the procedure with the other arm and foot. Perform this procedure regularly every morning before you start your day and at night before going to sleep.
- Develop your core strength as a strong core helps support and prop up your back and your abs, as well as tones your abdomen, thus making it easier to form and maintain a good posture. Perform the following exercise recommended by the Pilates Institute of Australia in order to build up your core strength :
◦ Stand up straight and imagine that your mid section has been replaced by an apple. Now imagine that someone has removed the core of the apple and there is now a void in the middle. You now need to pull in your midsection, back and sides, up through your pelvic floor in order to fill in this void. Keep pulling in tighter and tighter and imagine the void getting smaller and smaller. Keep pulling in as much as you can, hold and then release. Repeat this exercise everyday. Keep holding for a little while longer each time until you can hold for at least 30 seconds or more.
- Exercise the muscles between your shoulders, known as the rhomboids. To work your rhomboids, draw your shoulder blades back and hold for 10 seconds. Then release and relax. Do this five times every day and you will soon notice a difference from your former posture as your shoulders will stay straight and drawn and not droop any more
- The curve in your back is important to maintain a good posture. So, try to sleep in a position which helps you maintain the curve in your back. Sleep with either a lumbar roll under your lower back, or a pillow under your knees or with your knees slightly bent. Avoid sleeping with your knees drawn right up to your chest and on your side. Also avoid sleeping on your front, especially if you happen to sleep on a saggy mattress as all of these positions cause back strain and may also cause damage to your neck.
- When you are in a sitting position, push your bottom to the back of the chair and sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Make this your permanent sitting posture and do not deviate from it at all. Never give yourself a chance to whittle your waist. Pull in your core and follow this sitting position in the car, at home or in the office in order to show noticeable changes in your posture.
- Being aware of and paying attention to your posture is a very vital step in improving your posture in the long run. Good posture is a habit that does not come easily and needs to be cultivated until it becomes natural. Every time you sit, stand or lie down – check your posture and correct it. Ask for help from family and friends to correct your posture and keep you from slouching.
- Learn to breathe properly as how you breathe affects your posture to a great extent. Learn to breathe more effectively using your diaphragm, taking long and deep breaths instead of short, shallow ones. Try lengthening your spine and engaging your waist muscles as well as your lower core muscles.
• Constantly craning your neck to stare down at your phone or tablet is not helping your posture. Instead of holding your head down to look at your hand held devices, prop up your phone or tablet perpendicular to the table.