We’ve all heard how important it is to improve our posture but how many of us actually have really good posture. Some may think it is just not achievable to change a lifetime of bad postural habits. But while it might be challenging at first, developing the habit of better posture is achievable no matter how old you are. The following are just some of the benefits of having better posture:
- Opens up the airways and prevent shallow breathing ensures that her oxygen flow
- Your joints are in alignment which allows the correct muscles to be used
- There is a decrease in backache and muscle pain
- You feel better
One of the first things to keep in mind is to have an awareness of whether your posture is in good alignment or not. Here are a couple of quick ways that you can assess your own posture right now. Stand in front of the mirror and look for these things:
1) Is your head translating forward? Your ear should be aligned above your shoulder to minimize the stress on the cervical spine.
2) Are your shoulders rounding forward? Your shoulder blades should be slightly pulled back.
3) Are you standing with your abdominals relaxed and with an increased sway back? If so then tuck your tailbone under slightly. You might even want to squeeze your buttocks slightly which can engage the gluteus muscles and can in turn help with postural stabilization.
Here’s a great exercise that you can do to improve your posture right now. Again stand in front of mirror and bring your arms down by your side. Now gently squeeze your shoulder blades together. Make sure that your shoulders are not rising up when you do this. Squeeze the shoulder blades very gently for 10 seconds, relax and then repeat this again 10 times. Repeat again for a total of 3 sets of 10. Do this exercise daily.
Consistency with the postural exercises is key when we’re looking to create new habits. When we do our exercises every day it creates muscle memory and even improves the neural connections in our brain that will help in developing the habit of better posture. Another thing that has helped some of my patients and clients is to have them put a post it on their doorway in their home. Every time they walk past that doorway they will see the reminder to keep their posture up. A couple of other tools that you could use to improve your posture is to visualize yourself with upright posture just as athletes do for greater performance. You can also mark down on your calendar each day that you finish your posture exercise. Keep at it and you will have better posture!