We’ve all been told by our parents “Stand up straight” or “Keep your head up” and “Stop slouching!” (at least I’ve heard it anyway). Of course, they were right. Growing up - I didn't have great posture. A lot of it had to do with fact that I grew up being anxious (I was a very stressed out, hyperactive little ball of fire). Thankfully, my parents encouraged me to do sports – which kept me somewhat in line (attitude wise as well as with my posture).
Now that I’m a working young adult, I see why posture is so important (because when you start having back pain at 25 – you just know). Having bad posture can lead to even more side effects, like decreased oxygen flow (which causes low energy), headaches, sleep deprivation, digestive issues. Posture can also affect your workouts and your results. If you are looking to lose weight or tone up – I strongly suggest you start by assessing your posture. Even personal trainers assess your posture first thing to provide you with a fitness plan that better meets your needs.
I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned to do to help with my posture. This is solely my opinion (it does not replace the advice of a health professional). If you want to learn more, I strongly suggest you visit your local physiotherapist, osteotherapist or a massage therapist to help you assess your posture and obtain tips for improving your posture. Here are some techniques that have worked well for me:
I know what your all thinking – well duh? Yes, I know. And we all know how important stretching is, but somehow, most of us still manage to neglect it. I want to talk about stretching because we are all shaped differently. Maybe what my body needs is a bit different from what your body needs (another reason why it is good to seek professional advice on this). Click here to take a look at some stretches to improve posture.
Yoga is very beneficial in improving posture. It's important to listen to your body and push yourself just enough (but not too much) during your practice – this is called "finding your edge". If you join a class, don’t be afraid to ask questions to your teacher when you are not sure about certain poses. Every pose in yoga has a purpose. Let them be your guide during your practice and you will learn about yourself and so much about what your body needs along the way.
Build Your Core
A strong core makes for a strong posture. The more you work on strengthening your core, the easier it will be to stand or sit up straight. I’ve noticed a big difference once I’ve started to focus my workouts on core & back stability and resistance. This will make it much easier for you to sit in a straight spine at work and not feel so much fatigue on your back (standing/sitting up straight can almost seem like a task and can even feel painful/achy at times due to fatigue). Therefore, building muscle around your core is very important.
I did not realize how much tension I was holding onto until I started taking a few minutes to just breathe consciously every day. This is an exercise that is so important in relieving stress, anxiety and it’ll help release tension in those stressed areas on your body. Some of us hold stress at different places. We often see pain in our shoulders & neck, our backs/lower back or even in our bellies. Taking a few minutes to close our eyes and to focus on just breathing can make a tremendous difference in our posture. We’re so used to the "go-go-go" lifestyle that we forget how important it is to just stop for a moment and breathe.
Changing Daily Habits
Whether I am behind the wheel, texting on my phone or watching a show on my laptop – I always try to be mindful of my posture. We often don’t realize how often there is an opportunity for us to have a good posture that we don’t even bother doing anything about it - so we slouch. But these little changes can make the whole difference.
Arranging Work Space Properly
If you work a desk job, like me, you know how hard it can be on your back. It is crucial for you to have your computer, chair, keyboard, mouse, etc. set up properly so you can avoid bending your back & neck too forward or too far back. If you can, I suggest you get a professional ergo assessment at work to get you properly set up. You will thank me later, believe me.
Visit to a health professional (massage therapist, osteotherapist)
Ever since I started a desk job, I’ve been having a lot more lower back & shoulder pain. I made the decision to go see a professional about this before it got any worse. I was already doing everything (I thought was right) to help with my posture. For example, keeping myself active, doing yoga, etc. But discussing it with a professional made me realize how much little adjustments can make a big difference. If you have coverage for these services, I strongly suggest you to visit a professional in this field.
Thanks for checking in again, my lovelies!