Is it possible to improve posture?
Your posture is the way that you hold your body in alignment, and it’s easier than you think for everything to slip out of balance. Very few of us are able to naturally sustain a tall, elongated spine, but when you throw in lifestyle and environmental factors – such as sitting at a desk all day – you might find yourself feeling downright hunched. But luckily, there are lots of things you can do about it! In this article we run over some common causes for poor posture, how to spot the symptoms, and small, simple changes you can make to creatively improve your posture over time.
What causes bad posture?
Although our skeletal and muscular systems can be impacted by genetic conditions, illness and injury, most of the time poor posture is the result of daily bad habits. It’s always good to start by identifying the cause of your bad posture, particularly if it’s something you haven’t been paying attention to. These could include:
- Slouching in an office chair
- Straining towards a computer screen
- Leaning more on one leg when standing
- Rolling your shoulders forward
you are experiencing pain, you should always begin by seeing a doctor. Fortunately there are plenty of ways you can start to tackle your bad habits.
Surprisingly, the cause of these physical imbalances are often due to emotional, not just physical, reasons. Feeling uncomfortable or insecure can make us try to appear smaller by letting our chest lower and shoulders curve in. That’s why a tall, poised posture is often seen as a sign of confidence. It’s a bit “chicken and egg”; in that you can sometimes start to tackle your feelings of anxiety by starting with your posture, as well as the other way around.
If you’re experiencing a lot of stress and think this could be part of the cause, try booking a Relaxing Massage. Some soothing essential oils, a warm bath and a good night’s sleep can help to reset you after a difficult day.
How can I fix my bad posture?
Particularly if you are suffering from back or neck pain, correcting your posture may feel awkward at first, as your body has adjusted over time. But by gently noticing and adjusting your alignment, you can start to retrain your muscles to relax, release and relearn what’s really comfortable.
A great place to start is with some gentle exercises to lengthen and release the muscles that have learned to contract. If you hunch forwards, this means your chest, pectorals and the front of your shoulders. Try finding a yoga or pilates class in your area, or consider a Thai Massage, where a practitioner will take you through a full series of deep stretches.
You could also consider increasing your strength training, targeting the muscles in your legs and back. Think of your body as a series of pulleys, where you need to release what’s tight (often in the front of your body), but then also tighten what has become loose. Your core muscles provide a natural girdle for your torso and spine, so make sure to spend time every day on this area.
Simple cores exercises to improve posture:
- Standing bicycle crunch: an easy start for total beginners. Stand up straight and place your hands on either side of your head. Starting on the left side, lift your knee straight up, and simultaneously twist your body so your right elbow comes down to meet it. Repeat 10 times on each side.
- Plank: lying on your front, clasp your hands together and raise yourself up onto your forearms. Lift your pelvis until your whole body is in a perfectly straight line, relax your shoulders as much as you can and hold for one minute.
- Sit ups: lie on your back with your knees up and feed on the floor. Place your hands either side of your head, bring your gaze down to your navel, and without creating tension in the upper body let your stomach muscles “crunch” together. Try to 20 reps.
Improving your posture is possible, and with practice you might even seem taller, more confident and feel happier.