The Two Best Ways to Fix Your Posture
All this time spent hunched over our computers and phones is leading to a modern epidemic of poor posture. We slouch without realizing it, our bodies thrown out of balance by muscles that are either too tight or too weak. Our necks hurt, there are painful knots in our back and shoulders, and the headaches come too frequently. If you want to know how to fix your posture problems, read on.
What’s Wrong With Your Posture?
In general, we know good posture when we see it. We admire people who hold themselves upright. They just seem more balanced, stronger, and more poised. They carry themselves with pride.
But now picture someone whose head hangs forward, whose shoulders are rounded and weak. They appear to lack confidence. They look tired. They look older than they are—and shorter than they should be.
For people with poor posture, though, there’s a lot more going on that we don’t see. Poor posture has been linked to incontinence, constipation, heartburn, and slow digestion. Studies have shown that improved posture can help with symptoms of depression. And then there are all those aches and pains.
How To Fix Your Posture
Fixing your posture is more than a matter of just being aware of what you’re doing. Simply trying to remind yourself to stand up straight isn’t going to get the job done. For those who want to know how to fix your posture, there are two things you’ll need to do:
1. Adjust Your Environment
This is where the problem starts. Our posture is an adaptation to the way we’re living our lives. If we’re spending forty hours a week hunched over our computers at our desks, we’re going to develop a hunched posture.
The easy answer is to say “don’t do that.” But it’s not so easy if it’s our job. If you must spend forty hours at a computer, put some effort into refining the ergonomics of your workstation.
Also, do everything you can not to hold the same position for long periods of time. You need to take regular breaks to get up and move, even if only for a minute or so. Standing up to stretch once an hour can go a long way to reducing the muscle fatigue and strain that leads to slouching.
Another thing to consider is your vision. Do you find yourself leaning forward for a better view of the words on the screen? Maybe it’s time for a visit to an eye doctor. You may find that a good pair of glasses is all you need for a more upright posture.
And finally, how do you use your phone? Do you use it a lot? Do you find yourself staring down at it for long periods of time because you’re holding it at belly height? Not good! Hold your phone up at eye level to keep your posture upright. It might feel awkward and it will require some arm strength, which brings us to point number two.
2. Exercise and Stretch
The key to good posture is a balance of strong, flexible muscles. Any good overall strength training regimen will help give you the endurance you need to fight the fatigue that wears down your posture as the day goes on.
It’s also likely that your chest is already stronger than your back. When these muscles are out of balance like that, it makes it harder to hold your shoulders back, and leads to a rounded posture. To make up for this, you’ll want to strengthen your back muscles and stretch your chest. There are plenty of exercises for this, but rows are especially good.
And for the chest, consider The Rope for stretching.
Another area to focus on is general core strength and balance. Again, any overall strength training regimen will help. You might also consider yoga or pilates. Both are great disciplines for overall strengthening and stretching, and they’re excellent for developing and maintaining good posture.