In our last post we discussed the advantages of a good posture, along with the myriad of ways in which it could benefit your health and your aesthetic appeal; but how exactly do you go about improving your posture? Well, there are several steps you can take, but none of them are magic, so you will have to keep at them, and not let your motivation for doing so slip; which brings us onto our first point:
Know Why You Are Making The Change – Like all changes in lifestyle, from improving your posture to trying to quit smoking, it is integral that you have identified the reason you want to make the change. There are many different reasons you may want to and each of us will put consider different reasons more valid than others.
Many people will say do not make a change because other people want you to or because you think they want you to, but some people may find this very motivating. Basically, it is not important what your motivation is, but it is important to identify it and bear it in mind.
Establish A Solid Base – Whether you are standing or sitting, it is important that your feet are planted firmly on the ground. Moreover try not to lean or put more weight on one side of your body than on the other as this will cause your centre of balance to shift, and cause your back to recruit the muscles on one side of your body more than on the other.
If this persists for too long one side may become more developed than the other, which will then pull you onto one side more than the other; causing your spine to bend and develop an irregular curve.
Avoid Heavy Weights – Lifting weights is an important part of any regular gym goers regime, and rightly so. But it is easy to over do it and attempt to lift weights that are beyond your capabilities, or only just within them, in the attempt to gain better results. In the short term you may well be pleased wit the results, but by putting your back and shoulders through such unnecessary strain you may well be doing yourself more harm.
This does not just apply to gym goers mind you. Every time you lift something that is excessively heavy you hunch your back and shoulders which, sequentially, can lead to a poor posture. Sadly life is not so straight forward and you may be in a situation where you have no other choice but to carry something heavy; in this instance it is important that you observe proper lifting technique, which is to say you ought to lift with your legs, not your back.
Get Posture Aids – In the olden days if you had rounded shoulders in school the teacher may well has slid a ruler through your sleeves and along your back; forcing your shoulders back and keeping your back straight. Fortunately people have since discovered that there are more practical (and considerably more comfortable) ways of improving someone’s posture.
One of the best posture aids that you can get is a support cushion; and there are many different types out there. Some, such as lumbar cushions, hang over the back of a chair and support your back whilst promoting a more healthy posture; where as others such as a coccyx cushion, are supposed to be sat on, thereby evenly distributing your weight and taking the pressure off of the base of your spine.
Exercise – Sorry to say but this one was always going to show up on this list. But on the brightside we are not talking about going for a 5km run every day; but rather some relatively lighter exercises such as sit-ups, lunges, yoga, pilates or even just regular stretching.
It is important to note though that whilst exercise is important and very beneficial, if you use poor technique or techniques that are too advanced for your current level, you may end up doing more harm than good; and possibly end up seriously injuring yourself.