Poor posture can lead to chronic muscle and joint pain over time, which is why it’s important to break bad habits such as slouching and hunching before the damage is incurred. Here are six ways for you to improve your posture throughout the day.
1) Strengthen Your Core
It’s important to prevent back and shoulder muscle atrophy so that your body doesn’t begin adopting a poor alignment over time. By practicing a few simple exercises to strengthen your core on a regular basis, you’ll build muscle memory so that your body assumes the correct posture without conscious effort or strain.
2) Head Up, Shoulders Back
If you’re able to see your shoulder blades, your back is too rounded. Similarly, if your ears are aligned in front of your shoulders, your head is too far forward. Try to reach the top of your head up to the ceiling, keeping your head aligned on top of your neck and spine, and pull your shoulders back to mimic the shape of a square. While these habits may feel awkward in the beginning, it will quickly become second nature through an ongoing, conscious effort.
3) Routine Stretching
Stretching not only helps alleviate sore muscles; it moreover can be used to reduce any strains that may be causing bad posture and low energy levels. Morning stretches can help loosen up the body to get rid of muscle lethargy caused by sleep, while performing ongoing stretches throughout the day can help to boost energy and improve posture.
4) Become a Yogi
Yet another reason to learn to love yoga, practicing on a regular basis will help improve your balance and posture by working and strengthening your core muscles in order to maintain proper alignment. Yoga teaches you how to focus on holding an erect posture and activate specific muscles that benefit your alignment whether you’re sitting, standing, or in walking position.
5) Shift Weight Forward
Standing up straight, consciously move the weight of your body forward to the balls of your feet. Now rock back so that your weight is resting on your heels and notice the way your entire body gravitates towards a slouched position. By keeping the weight on the balls of your feet, your body will naturally maintain a lengthened and upright stature.
6) Sit Smarter
In addition to implementing the tips already mentioned, i.e. keeping your head up and aligned with the neck and spine and shoulders squared, keep both of your feet resting on the ground (or on a footrest if your legs don’t reach) and keep your back aligned with the chair’s to prevent slouching or leaning too far forward. If your job involves sitting at a desk for extended periods of time, consider investing in a chair that is designed ergonomically for proper support.