When was the last time you looked up tips to improve your posture? Despite being one of the easiest fixes, the posture is generally overlooked in favor of diets, crazy new fitness regimes and slimming clothes – but the results of a good posture can be incredible. Not only will slouching make you look much bigger than you are, but it can lead to pains and tension in the shoulders, back and neck, and is a known cause of headaches and tiredness. It’s even blamed for gastrointestinal reflux. Convinced? Here’s my top tips to improve your posture!
Stand in front of a mirror in your usual standing position. Don’t go doing any sneaky foot shuffles – you need an accurate impression of your natural posture! Then stand up tall, pulling your shoulders and head back. It’ll probably feel like you are sticking your chest out, but that’s the perfect posture – you’ll typically know you’ve got it right when your palms face your thighs with your thumbs pointing ahead. If it feels odd, test out these tips to improve your posture to correct it naturally.
Do you remember being told to sit up straight as a child? There’s a good reason for the nagging! Slouching is a habit, and it’s one that can take hold very quickly. Most people don’t sit up straight, and then find it very difficult to have a good posture. Always sit as far back in the chair as possible, and aim to create a triangle with your buttocks and pubic bone. Your feet should be flat, and there should be no pain on the tailbone. Whether you’re on the sofa or in the car, you should be sat properly!
Work with computers? There’s a natural tendency to pull the top of your body in, so that you are leaning over your computer or laptop. This isn’t actually a helpful position, though, as it causes strain down the spine. Instead sit back properly, and make sure your screen is about an arm's length away. The top of your screen should be level with your eye line, so that you don’t need to look up to see it. If you struggle to see, try increasing your font size, or using the accessibility settings.
Muscles that don’t get used get weak. That means the surrounding muscles need to work harder to support the weak muscles, and slouching can get serious. Utilise all your muscles by beginning to stretch. There’s a variety of stretches that will alleviate strain on certain muscles, or just give everything a workout to keep you feeling good.
Or your dog. Ever noticed that when they get up, they have a stretch? Whether it’s been a two minute snooze or a five hour sleep, you’ll rarely see a cat or dog that doesn’t stretch it out. You should do the same. At home, lie face down on the floor and raise yourself up your elbows, letting the lower back rest towards the floor. Hold and repeat to stretch out your whole back.
While core workouts tend to target the abs, your core actually reaches from your rib cage to your mid-thigh. A strong core will stop you from slouching, and cause you to naturally sit and stand straight. Core boosting activities such as pilates and yoga are both great for improving your core strength, and they’ll make you more flexible, too.
How you sleep can also affect your posture, and make you achy. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this can create neck strain, and is generally more uncomfortable. Back sleepers should put a pillow under their knees to open up the joints of the spine, and side sleepers would benefit from a supportive pillow to avoid knee or neck pains. Throw out any unsupportive or very old pillows, and swap your mattress for one that offers some support.
Working on your posture only takes a few minutes every day, but the rewards are huge. You’ll automatically make yourself look your best, and you’ll reduce aches and pains too – and I’ve even had compliments on my tall posture. Bizarre, hey?! Give it a go, and you’ll never look back. And don’t forget to tell me your tips to improve your posture, too!
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