Crossroads Fitness Blog
Take a healthy stance: Good posture offers benefits
My mother’s words from childhood still resonate in my head. “Stand up tall. Don’t slouch.” She was right, of course. There are physical and emotional benefits to maintaining good posture. Moreover, our posture says more about us than we might think.
Simply put, posture refers to the body’s alignment. As with any habit, it takes work to make it consistent. We all know what constitutes poor posture — hunching, slumping and slouching. These habits break more than our mother’s rules, though. They create poor alignment that over time strains ligaments and muscles and causes pain and injuries. Proper alignment in every aspect of our day is important — from walking, sitting and standing to exercise and sports.
Maintaining awareness of your posture is the best place to begin. Think about your body language when you’re tired or ill. I tend to resort to poor posture when I’m hurrying around with too many things to do. After practice, I now catch myself and take a deep breath and align my body correctly. I feel more refreshed and in control.
There are other areas to consider when evaluating your posture. My chiropractor once told me my purse was way too heavy. Because I Quick read more or view full article carry my purse on my right shoulder and continually add items throughout the day, the load was pulling my torso to the right. Technology can compromise alignment, too. Holding your cell phone squeezed between your shoulder and your head for long periods tweaks your natural position. Consider as well your posture when you’re sitting at a computer, the dinner table or in the car.
There are many benefits of maintaining good posture. Your breathing becomes easier and deeper. It aligns muscles and joints. It improves circulation and digestion. There’s another benefit nearly everyone desires: Good posture conveys a more confident bearing. What’s more, it makes you look slimmer and younger.
What does healthy posture look like? Here’s one way to tell if you’re standing up correctly. Stand up against a wall with your feet just a couple inches away and your upper back, shoulders and bottom touching the wall. Now, step away from the wall and see if you can maintain that position.
There are ways to help you maintain this position with ease. Perform slow and controlled movements that target your core and side muscles. Yoga and Pilates classes are excellent for improving posture. Do exercises that strengthen your upper and lower back as well as your shoulders. Roll your shoulders up and back, then hold.
Don’t forget the importance of stretching. Try standing tall with your arms reaching towards the sky and feel your torso lengthen.
The benefits of good posture are both physical and emotional. What does your posture say about you? Increasing awareness of your posture and learning ways to strengthen your body leads to a taller, prouder and healthier you.Read Less