Take a minute right now and think about how you’re sitting. Notice where your feet are resting, whether your shoulders are straight or hunched over and where your head is in relationship to your shoulders. If you are reading this at a computer, chances are that your shoulders are slouching over and your neck is protruding out so that your head is in front of your shoulders. If someone took a picture, you might look something like this:
If you are sitting on a chair or couch, you might look like this:
What about when you stand? How is your posture when you are up on two feet? Does it look anything like this?
Posture is very important. If your body is aligned poorly, it can lead to some serious problems including back, shoulder and neck pain, headaches, disc herniations, arthritis, pinched nerves, TMJ syndrome and more. In fact, posture affects every function in the body from breathing to hormonal production.
The effects are mental as well as physical. Being hunched over might indicate low self esteem or lack of confidence. It is also generally unattractive.
When I watch people walk down the street, I am struck by how many are slouched over. The message they send is that they are meek, defeated, sad or depressed. When someone walks by with good posture, they exude confidence, strength and happiness. They usually make eye contact, smile and just generally look like they feel good.
So, can the way you sit help to change your opinion about yourself? Perhaps so.
Can the way you stand give you a feeling of self-confidence? I think so.
Can the way you walk give the world an impression of who you are? Absolutely.
And can standing tall make you look better? Without a doubt.
All of those things are possible, so let’s look at what you can do to improve your posture.
First of all, become aware of it. Consciously thinking about how you’re sitting, standing or walking is the first step to making change.
Learn what good posture looks like. A few things to keep in mind are:
1. When you’re standing, both feet should face forward and your weight should be evenly distributed over both of them. Most of the weight should be over the balls of your feet, not the heels. Your hips, shoulders and ears should be aligned so that a line drawn from your ear down to the floor would touch all 3.
2. There should be 2 curves in your back so that your spine resembles the letter “S”.
3. Exercise! The only true way to improve posture is to strengthen the muscles that support you. Strengthening your muscles will help align the spine into an anatomically correct position. There are many simple exercises and stretches that you can do. I have included some websites for you to give you some examples.
This week, stand tall! Be more aware of your posture. Do something to improve it. Notice it and make an adjustment, do some exercises, or just simply pick up your head and smile at someone passing by. Not only will improved posture make you look better, it will make you feel better as well.
Have a wonderful week!