You can improve your posture with small tweaks that will help the head, neck, shoulders and back be aligned in a natural way. These adjustments can decrease pain, increase stability and strength, and allow for a better range of motion.
The best thing to do is become aware of bad habits and try to correct them
1. Stretch Your Muscles
Poor posture is usually the result of weak muscles. Regular stretching can help strengthen those muscles, making it easier to stand or sit up straight. Stretching can also increase your awareness of muscle imbalances and tightness, allowing you to correct them.
For instance, a common problem is forward head posture, which can be caused by looking at a computer or smartphone all day. To remedy this, you can try a simple pose called child’s lunge. To do it, start on your hands and knees with your hips stacked directly under your knees and your feet together. Slowly begin to walk your hands toward the front of the mat, lowering your torso until you can rest your forehead or chin on the floor.
Another great posture exercise is planking, which is a good way to stretch your back and chest muscles. You can do this by lying on the floor with your body in a straight line, with your stomach muscles tight and shoulders back and rolled slightly forward.
2. Move Your Body
Whether you’re moving or sitting or standing, the right posture helps reduce pressure on muscles and ligaments. It also helps prevent aches and pains that can affect your quality of life.
Static posture—the position of your body while still—is important, but so is dynamic posture, which is the movement your body goes through when walking, running or playing sports. Dynamic posture requires core strength and flexibility as well, and exercise can help with both of these things.
For example, you can perform a “standing chest opener” to stretch your shoulders and upper back, or you can do the pigeon pose to loosen up your hips and spine. These exercises are especially helpful when they work the muscles that are tight or weak due to poor posture.
Other posture-improving moves include crunches and planks, which target the core muscles that connect your spine to your pelvis. You can also do a few repetitions of the Superman move, in which you lie on your stomach and simultaneously raise your arms and legs up a few inches off the floor.
3. Change Your Habits
Good posture is about more than just standing up straight. It’s about avoiding pain and injuries, and it can help you feel your best.
Whether you’re sitting at a desk all day or hunched over on the couch while watching TV, any position you stay in for too long can make your back hurt. The key is to change your habits and move around often enough so that your spine isn’t stuck in one position for hours on end.
Sitting for too long can cause you to slouch, which puts an extreme curve in your spine and makes your shoulders drop down in front of your chest. This can put a strain on your neck and lungs, and it may even make you look smaller.
To check your posture, stand against a wall and measure the distance between your head and the wall. There should be less than 2 inches between those two points, which is the ideal space for good posture. Throughout the day, try to keep this in mind and correct your posture whenever you notice yourself slouching.
4. Get a Better Sleep
When people think of posture, they often focus on standing and sitting positions. However, there is a third type of posture that affects your health just as much — sleep posture.
The way you sleep can have a significant impact on your back, neck, hips, and knees. If you spend a night in a position that places excess pressure on these areas, or even keeps them in a twisted position, then this can lead to pain throughout the day and prevent you from getting the restful sleep you deserve.
This is why finding a mattress and pillows that help you sleep in good posture is so important. A good pillow should support the natural curve of your spine and allow you to relax without putting stress or strain on any part of your body. It should also be soft and comfortable, so you can get restful sleep that will leave you feeling rejuvenated in the morning.
5. Strengthen Your Muscles
You can strengthen the muscles that support good posture with gentle exercises like those in yoga and Pilates. They work to balance the weak muscles of the back and stomach, which often cause poor posture. Improving your posture will also make you more aware of the way your body moves, so you’ll notice any areas of tightness or imbalances that need to be addressed.
A common posture problem is slouching, which puts an extreme curve in the spine and compresses your lungs. This makes it difficult to breathe deeply, and it can also affect your appearance. In addition, slouching can lead to neck problems such as muscle strain or pinched nerves.
A physical therapist can help you correct your posture and prevent future injuries. They can teach you exercises to strengthen the supporting muscles and give you advice on how to avoid slouching in daily life. They may recommend that you wear a posture corrector, which can help improve your posture while sitting or standing and prevent back pain. They can also recommend other strategies to get your posture back, including a healthy diet and proper sleep habits.
6. Breathe Right
Your mom may have nagged you to sit up straight and stand tall, but the truth is that good posture helps the body look and feel its best. Poor posture can lead to neck and shoulder pain, back aches, and other health problems.
There are two types of posture: static posture, which refers to your body’s position when you’re not moving; and dynamic posture, which refers to your body’s positioning while you’re in motion, such as walking or running.
One of the best ways to get your posture back is to learn how to breathe correctly. Proper horizontal breathing uses the diaphragm muscles, which means that your belly moves in and out while your shoulders and chest stay still. To try out this breathing technique, sit down and relax your shoulders and neck. Then, inhale slowly through your nose for about two seconds. Once you’ve inhaled, exhale for about four seconds. Repeat this several times to see what correct breathing feels like.
7. Change Your Environment
We’ve all been nagged by our parents to sit up straight and keep our shoulders back. But good posture is more than just an aesthetic. It’s also crucial to our long-term health and wellbeing. Poor posture can lead to back pain, spinal dysfunction, a potbelly, rounded shoulders and a host of other problems.
Practicing proper body alignment can help us feel more energetic throughout the day, and it can boost our self-esteem and mood. It can even help prevent breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, caused by slouching which limits lung capacity.
Start by performing a wall test to see where your posture is at. Stand with your back against the wall, with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and the back of your heels touching the ground. Then check that your feet, hips, shoulder blades and back of the head all rest against the wall without any strain or effort. If this is not the case, it’s time to make some changes. Good posture requires a combination of exercises, lifestyle changes and routine adjustments to the environment that will help you achieve and maintain a healthy posture.
8. Learn a New Posture
When you hear the term “good posture,” you might think of puffed -up cartoon soldiers or hunched over models and celebrities. But good posture actually looks more natural and neutral than that, explains Leah Zhang, a Los Angeles- based certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, which helps people reduce physical tension, use muscles efficiently and improve movement. It also encourages body awareness.
Keeping your spine in a healthy neutral position will help prevent back pain, increase energy levels and allow your lungs to expand, helping you breathe deeply. You can start by doing simple exercises to strengthen the support muscles of your torso and pelvis, such as those found in yoga and Pilates. You can also try to consciously practice standing tall and moving your shoulders down and back.
Getting your posture back will take time, but it’s worth the effort. So, don’t give up and remember to make small changes each day. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but over time your new posture will become natural and you’ll be glad you spent the time working on it.