Your posture says a lot about your personality, and bad posture can negatively affect you more than you might think. Obviously, it isn’t particularly attractive to look at, and it doesn’t do your overall health any good. Medical experts have said it that sustained bad posture can lead to a host of health complications.
How you look and feel is directly related to your posture, and despite the importance of having good posture, most of us don’t do anything to improve it. We continue to go about our daily lives with hunched backs and imbalanced hips and deal with pain.
Living with bad posture can be a dangerous thing, and the muscle and ligament imbalances that result from poor alignment can lead to the following:
- Chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain
- Foot, knee, hip, and back injuries
- Muscle atrophy and weakness
- Difficulty breathing
- Digestion issues
- Impingement and nerve compression
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
How to Fix Poor Posture
correcting a slouch or a rounded back isn’t exactly an easy thing. These days, most of us have to sit on a work desk for hours on end in order to make ends meet, making it too easy to revert to old habits.
However, the good news is that there are many effective methods that can fix your posture problem.
Correcting Your Alignment
To solve a problem, you first need to pinpoint the cause, and most postural deviations occur because the muscles that work to hold a joint in place are imbalanced. More often, one muscle group will be too tight and the opposing muscle group will be too loose (weak).
For example, if you pair tight pecs with weak back muscles, you will have an imbalance that pulls the shoulder girdle away from its ideal position. When imbalances like these occur, overactive muscles compensate for underactive muscles, resulting in tension, fatigue, and discomfort.
The easiest and most effective way to correct imbalances is to exercise or stretch the overactive muscles and to strengthen the underactive muscles.
Strengthen Your Core
The core of the body is that part of your body that starts just below the ribcage and ends right across the mid thighs. Having strong core muscles makes it easier for the body to assume the proper sitting and standing posture.
There are myriads of core strengthening exercises that can do wonders for your posture, and you don’t have to rely on sit ups alone. Leg lift is one popular exercise you can do to improve your core strength.
Doing yoga exercises has been proven effective in improving muscle flexibility as well as rectifying muscle imbalances. It helps in conditioning your muscles in such a way that makes it easier to assume and maintain proper posture.
Yoga exercises can relieve muscle pains, strengthen the core, and realign the spine, and there is a wide variety of yoga exercises that can do wonders for your posture. The best yoga exercise to get rid of your poor posture (slouch) is called the Hero Pose.
To do the hero pose:
- sit on your heels and sit up straight with the top of your head pointing at the sky(You can place some padding under your ankles to reduce potential discomfort).
- Keep your knees together, position each foot to the sides and keep the toes pointed behind you(you can do breathing exercises and/or meditate while you’re at it).
If you haven’t been paying attention to your posture, you might have no idea how misaligned your body might be. If you’re not sure whether your posture is good or if it needs a little work, you will have to perform the standing assessment first:
- Put on form-fitting clothes so you can see your alignment.
- Stand barefoot, tall but comfortable, without trying to force yourself into what you think is perfect posture.
- Close your eyes and march slowly in place a few times(This will allow your feet to turn in and out naturally).
- Bring your body to a stop and stand still.
- Have a friend take a full body picture of you from the front, the side, and behind.
Most of us who do work on a computer table has a tendency to slouch whenever we’re in the middle of an engrossing task, and the result is usually an aching back, neck, and a tired body. Slouching can put unduly strain on your back and muscles.
To learn how to fix your bad posture, assume the proper sitting position, keep your shoulders low and relaxed, and your feet planted flat on the floor, with your back pulled back. You can place a lumbar pillow across your lower back to relieve pressure on the tailbone. Adjust your chair’s height in such a way where your knees are slightly elevated and of course, you will need the proper chair in order to assume this position.
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to assess your own posture, and if you notice any of these imbalances, then utilize the stretches and strengthening exercises to correct them.
Implement the strengthening exercises into your regular routine as needed, and save static stretching for the end of your workout. Perform stretches so they produce a slight pull on the muscle, but are not painful, and you should hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds, and repeat a total of 3-5 sets.
Keep at it and you’ll notice some excellent results. You’ll feel better, look better, and live a healthier life.