Bad posture often comes about from bad habits.
Maybe you slouch in your chair, lean on one leg, or carry a heavy bag on one shoulder? Are you chin down down and hunched back while you scroll through your phone? Or maybe you do all of these and more?
If you have bad posture, it’s these everyday habits that are the cause as your muscles and ligaments adjust to the way you are holding yourself.
Sure, you want to have great posture for all those wedding photos, but looking at the bigger picture - living with bad posture can be a dangerous thing. The muscle and ligament imbalances can lead to all sorts of problems such as pain and discomfort in the shoulders, neck and back, sciatica, muscle atrophy and weakness, digestive issues, fatigue and difficulty sleeping, general stiffness and discomfort.
Bad posture also makes you more susceptible to injury.
Despite the importance of having good posture, most of us don't do anything to improve it. We go about our lives with hunched backs and imbalanced hips, and deal with pain because we think it's normal.
But its not all doom and gloom as you CAN retrain your body to have good posture. You just need to work on strengthening your core and check in with your posture on a daily basis. Correcting your posture may feel awkward at first because your body has become so used to sitting and standing in a particular way. But with a bit of practise, good posture will become second nature.
Here are some tips to help correct your posture on a daily basis:
- When sitting down, whether at your desk, in your car or on the couch, practice sitting upright with your back straight against the chair or seat, shoulders back and relaxed. If you feel yourself slouching, lift your shoulders up, draw them back, then relax them down. This back, yet relaxed down state is the natural way they should rest to give you the best posture.
- When walking, lock in your core, by consciously pulling your belly button towards your backbone. This will help strengthen and uplift your core. You can also try walking as if you had a book balanced on your head.
- Check the positioning of your feet in a relaxed standing position. Check that they are evenly apart and your toes are pointing forwards, or both slightly out to each side. Also check the weight distribution between each legs to avoid leaning on one more than the other. Consciously align your ears, shoulders and hips so your body is in a straight line rather than your chest and bum sticking out as you walk.
When it comes to the exercises needed to help support a healthy spine and good posture, the key is core workouts. Strengthening your whole core will go a long way towards helping encourage good posture.
Yoga and pilates are also great ways to help correct your posture, and get a workout in too. There are lots of free videos and challenges for beginners on YouTube so get searching and give it a go.