You have probably heard it hundreds of times in your life: good posture is an important part of your health. Teachers, parents, and doctors say it over and over again. However, with the advent of smartphones and the increase in sedentary lifestyles, proper posture is hard to find nowadays.
If you are willing to work on your posture and get it to where it needs to be, you may find that your health improves dramatically. Not only that, good posture may help you live a longer and more fruitful life.
What Good Posture Does for You
Posture affects your body in several different ways. On a more shallow level, posture can just make you look better. Look at someone with rounded shoulders, a hunched back, and a head that hangs slightly forward. Do they look confident or happy? No. That is what people think of you when they look at your posture.
In addition, posture can smooth out the parts of your body you might not be a huge fan of. If you have a belly pooch, for example, rounding your back forward only makes your tummy more prominent. If you stand up straight, your stomach stretches out slightly and looks flatter.Good posture can also improve your organ function.
Bad posture can condense your body organs, forcing them to take up less space than they need. This can impair function and lead to illness over time. As you get used to standing up straight, you may find that your digestion improves and your breathing gets easier.Of course, strong posture can also support your spine.
Your bones weaken as you age, and you want to stay upright as long as possible. Good posture can prevent some of the natural decline that comes in your senior years.
What Proper Body Posture Looks Like
If you have always had bad posture, you may not even know what good posture looks like. When you look at your back from the side, it should form as straight a line as possible. This does not mean doing the opposite of hunching your back, which is popping your shoulders and butt back. This causes its own type of strain.
Rather, try to keep a neutral spine.Your shoulders should be slightly back and down, not rounded forward, pushed up to your ears, or too far back. Your hips should be stacked directly beneath your shoulders and your abdomen should be tucked in slightly.The first time you stand like this, you may feel uncomfortable.
After all, your body is used to improper posture. However, stick with it. Check your posture every 30 minutes or so, and if it’s slipping, fix it.
Improving Your Posture
There are several exercises you can use to change your posture. Try the ones listed below:
- Lay flat on your stomach. Both of your shoulders should be touching the ground. Lift your upper body off the ground is much as possible while keeping your lower body on the ground.
- Lay flat on your back. Make a conscious effort to keep your shoulder blades pressed into the ground. Slowly raise your arms so they are lying above your head. This stretches out your shoulders.
- While laying flat on your back, place a foam roller or noodle beneath your spine.