How To Improve Posture
“Stand up straight!” It’s something we’ve all been told countless times in our lives. It may have been
annoying at the time, and most of us don’t
understand how important good posture is. Here is a little fact to put things into perspective: for every inch that your head moves forward in posture, its weight on your neck and upper back muscles increases by 10 pounds. Over time, poor posture can be caused by many things. It has become much more common in the most recent years now that technology is advancing and a lot more people work on computers for hours at a time. It can be caused by some of our every day activities such as, sitting in a chair, driving, sleeping, carrying a bag on the same shoulder, texting, etc. Many fail to realize that a lot of what we do requires us to lean/hunch forward. Years and years go by when we are hunched over our desks in school, slumping when driving, etc. One may not even realize they have poor posture, and it easily may become second nature. Eventually this will cause terrible neck and back pain, and sometimes cause damage to spinal structures. All of this causes chest muscles to shorten and back muscles to weaken. Then by nature, we are essentially in a state of constant slouch without even realizing it. Thankfully, poor posture can be fixed and posture habits aren’t difficult to change.
How to Improve Posture
How to improve posture you ask? Who knew that doing some simple exercises could strengthen your core and put you in the right direction in helping you regain proper posture. Below are some exercises to help improve poor posture.
Lower Leg Lift
One of the first exercises on how to improve posture is with the simple leg lift. While on the ground, lie on your back and place your hands behind your head, and keep your legs extended and lifted above the hips. While your feet are turned out slightly, lift your head up off the floor and look towards your legs. While you’re inhaling, lower your legs towards the floor to about six inches. Exhale, and return to the starting position. Start with something as simple as four reps at a time and increase over time.
While lying down on your stomach, gently lift your torso off of the ground as high as you can go without becoming uncomfortable. Keep your arms at your sides or point them outwards. Repeat this for about ten times and hold the position for roughly five seconds at a time.
This exercise will strengthen your neck muscles. You can do this exercise while you’re working, it’s that simple. It can be done while sitting or standing. Begin by rolling your shoulders back and down. Looking straight ahead, put two fingers on your chin and slightly tuck your chin and move your head back.
*repeat 10 times, holding for 3-5 seconds
The Wall Angel is a great exercise when learning how to improve posture. In the start position you will begin with your back flat against the wall, and feet about four inches from the base. Keep your knees in a slightly bent position. Don’t forget to keep your buttock, spine, and head completely up against the wall! Bring your arms up with elbows bent so that the upper arms will be parallel with the floor. Next, squeeze the shoulder blades together to form a “W” shape. Hold in this position for three seconds.
Next, straighten out the elbows and raise the arms up to form the letter “Y”. Hold this position for three seconds as well. In total, do 2-3 sets of this exercise.
This exercise is specifically for helping the strengthen upper back muscles. You will need a resistance band for this one. Sit on the floor with your legs extended forward. Take the resistance band and put it around the bottom of your feet. Cross one side over the other to form an “X”. Take the ends of the band and extend your arms in front of you. Pull the ends of the band toward your hips, bring your elbows to a slight bent position so they are pointed backward. Hold and return to beginning position. Do 8-12 reps for three sets total.
How to Prevent and How to Improve Posture
It’s important to remember these things to help prevent poor posture.
• Keep shoulders back and relaxed
• Pull in your abdominal muscles
• Keep feet hip-width apart
• Balance your weight evenly on both of your feet
• Keep upper back and neck straight while sitting and relax your shoulders
It’s all about practice. The more you practice, the sooner poor posture will become a thing of the past. How to improve posture may be trying at first, but don’t become discouraged. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Remember that on average, it takes anywhere from 21-66 days to create a new habit. It will take time for it to feel completely natural.