If a car could talk, it might yell with pain when its parts weren’t in alignment. Instead, it just breaks down or continues to run—but inefficiently. Your body is the same way. Practicing a few simple exercises to improve posture can be your ticket to realignment. Less pain, more energy, better digestion, and improved sleep can all be yours!
Where Does My Posture Fit in This Equation?
In some cases, poor posture is unavoidable. Some people have musculosketal challenges from birth, disease, or unfortunate accidents. However, the majority of people are able to practice good posture, if they choose to. Additionally, most of us have the ability to fix bad posture.
It really only requires making it a habit that you have to keep good posture in mind. Staying aware. And then, it takes a few minutes daily to practice some tips and simple exercises to improve posture.
So, why is this important? When you’re misaligned, it’s like the front wheel of your car pulling too much to the right. It wears out your tires and places extra strain on other driving mechanisms. It also uses more gas.
When you improve your posture…
You are keeping your bones and joints in alignment. This will decrease any pain caused from the abnormal wear and tear of joint surfaces. Also, your will have less muscle strain. Your muscles have to work overtime to compensate for the misalignment. Good posture allows you to use your muscles more efficiently.
You will have more energy.
Sitting, Standing, and Lying Down
Here are some tips and exercises to improve posture and keep in mind throughout your day:
- Roll your shoulders gently up and around a few times. Then switch direction to forward, down, and around back up. Loosen them in the joints. Relax and take note that both shoulders are resting evenly. Does one rise up higher or slouch lower than the other? Make the adjustment.
- When you are sitting or standing, make sure your chin is level and parallel to the floor. This is proper positioning for balancing your neck muscles.
- When you’re standing, are your hips even? If not, make the adjustment. Make sure your weight is distributed evenly on both legs.
- Always be aware of your abdominal muscles. Engage them. Pull them in. Don’t forget to keep breathing. Strengthening your core strengthens your back and improves balance.
- When sitting and standing, are your knees even and facing forward? Do not cross your legs.
- Look in the mirror when you walk by one. Are you standing up straight, chin up, shoulders back, belly tucked in? When you exercise, check yourself out in the mirror too. You want proper posture when exercising so that you don’t injure yourself.
More Than Mindful, Here are Some Simple Movements
Keeping the above tips in mind will be essential to getting your posture back into tip-top shape. These exercises, however, can add to your recovery and good maintenance. Give these a try:
- Chest stretch. Step away from furniture or the wall. Stand tall, straight, and keep your hands and feet shoulder-width apart. Distribute your weight evenly onto both legs. Clasp your fingers behind your lower back. Keep your palms face-up. Pull your shoulders down behind you, keeping your arms straight. Hold the stretch and breathe. You should feel your chest opening up, and a nice stretch in your shoulders.
- Neck stretch. Sitting or standing straight. Tilt your neck gently to the right towards your right shoulder. Imagine your ear resting on your shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds and take a few deep breaths. Switch sides. Then, still in an upright position, curl your chin towards your chest, slowly. Move back to center position. Now, lean your head back slowly, take some breaths, and back to neutral. Keeping your body still, simply move your head to look to the left, keeping your chin above your shoulder. Back to center. Now repeat to the right.
- Lie on a carpeted floor or a mat. Bend your knees and place the hells of your feet close to your bum. Your feet need to be flat on the floor and about shoulder-width apart. Then, raise your hips, both sides evenly. Hold the hips high, but keep your tummy muscles engaged. Also, this will stretch your lower back and strengthen your glutes. Lower your hips slowly, take a beat, and then lift again. Repeat 8 times.
- A plank position is a perfect exercise to improve core strength. Ideally, it should be challenging, but pain free. If, however, it hurts your shoulders or neck to hold the position, let your body down slowly. We want to fix ourselves, not make matters worse. If you feel a strain on your wrists, you can always lean on your elbows with the palm of your hands facing flat on the ground in front of you or touching one another in a prayer-type position.
Regardless of the tips and exercises you choose to improve posture, they each will serve as a benefit. Hopefully, within a few weeks time, your posture will naturally become more improves. And along with that, your back, shoulder, and neck pain should decrease and your energy levels should be boosted. Feel free to share this post with your friends on Facebook. See if they want to join you in a “Best Posture Challenge”!