Fix Your Posture, Fix Your Pain
Being aware of your posture and your common faults is the first step
We talked about the top 10 posture killers, and now it’s time to fix them. Being aware of your posture and your common faults is a great first step, but it’s time to go even further.
14 Tips to fix your posture
1. Turn the tables. Get a moving desk. Your goal is more movement, so a standing desk isn’t going to cut it. Throughout your day, breathe deeply and maintain a good relaxed posture, since your muscles are like tiny hearts that need movement to pump blood and enhance circulation.
2. Do stretches and movements that open and lengthen the muscles in the front of your body, such as your chest, forearms and biceps and the big muscles that are at the front and sides of the hips. Try reaching for the sky while lunging.
3. Exercises for the upper body (backside) that simulate rowing or pulling, and require you to pull your shoulder blades down and. At the same time, go easy on bench press-type exercises or excessive push-ups. Focus instead on seated rows or standing rows, and pull-ups.
4. Breathe slowly — in through your nose, and fill your belly. Hold for a few full seconds. Then, with your tongue held lightly against the roof of your mouth, slowly let the breath out. Practice this throughout the day to decrease stress and improve posture. Check out this blog for more breathing tips.
5. For best posture practice, do these three movements. Roll your shoulders down and back, then pull your elbows back toward your back pants pockets (this presses your scapula up against your ribs, as though you were using them to push your heart up and out).
6. Stand on your entire foot. Most people stand with weight over their heels, which causes your feet to become weak and turn in, which increases stress on your weight-bearing joints (ankles, knees, hips and lower back).
7. Whether standing or sitting, become ergonomically sound with your computer setup. Keep your eyes level with the top of monitor, elbows and wrists straight at 90-degree angles.
8. Take a picture. Print photos of proper posture and put them up where you can see them easily, and even set a timer to be reminded every 20-30 minutes to correct your posture. In time, this will become automatic and you will self correct with very little effort.
9. Use props and tools, such as lumbar support pillows and seat wedges that help maintain normal spinal curves when sitting to decrease posture stress.
10. Move often and use all of your motion. Try every day to play with the kids, your pets or even play around in your garden. Remember to never bend over, but instead hinge from your hips.
11. Challenge your balance. Walk on sand, any safe uneven surface and use a balance or wobble board. Use bare feet or the most thin sole possible, so nerve receptors in your feet can help your nervous system, brain and muscles connect more efficiently to create better coordination. This helps your posture and helps to smooth your quality of movement.
12. Go thin to win. High heels and thick-soled shoes are terrible for posture. Try to spend most of your time not wearing shoes because it builds the muscles in your feet that are the foundation for your posture and quality of movement. Strong,aligned feet equate to a strong, aligned body. Walk on the sand or grass to help build up mobility, stability and strength in your feet — or try wearing shoes like Vibram five-fingers, Skoras, or Merrells.
13. See a professional, such as a physical therapist who specializes in improving posture using a proven science-based approach. In my experience, everyone is a unique case, and if you are having posture issues or chronic pain, improving your posture can be a life-changing gift.
14. Get a TRX or suspension strap and put it up in a spot where you walk often during the day. Use it frequently to stretch and open up your tight muscles. You can also do pulls and rows for your shoulder blades when you use a suspension strap.
Do you have your own posture tips to add, or posture mistakes that you think people tend to make? Leave your thoughts and comments below!