Hi. I’m Abigail and I slouch.
All it takes is seeing an extremely unflattering photo of yourself to realize just how bad your posture really is. Unfortunately, developing poor posture is almost inevitable. Driving, sitting, working at a computer and stress can all lead to poor posture, which basically puts everyone at risk.
Bad posture takes a conscious effort to correct but can make a huge difference in the way you look and feel. Improving your posture can make you look taller, leaner and more confident. In fact, some argue that improving your posture can make you appear up to 10lbs thinner! Who doesn’t want that!?
My spine rounds, I slouch, I stick out my tail bone and my shoulders tend to tense up around my ears. Sound familiar?
Once I became aware of how bad my posture was getting, I started making conscious efforts to improve it. Here are some simple methods I’ve been using to stay more aware of my body alignment and strengthen the muscles that promote good posture.
1. REMINDER: Tuck your tail.
Go to a full length mirror and turn to the side. I don’t know about you, but my back tends to curve and my bum sticks out. Kinda like this cool dude.
Okay, maybe not that bad but you get the point.
Throughout the day I try to remind myself to “tuck my tail” meaning I consciously move my tailbone back underneath my body like this.
2. REMINDER: Release your shoulders down and back.
Yoga made me aware of how my shoulders tend to creep up around my ears, like this…
I did some research and found that our shoulder and neck muscles are usually the first to compensate for our tension and stress. Throughout the day I remind myself to release my shoulders down, away from my ears - like this:
And while we’re on the subject of shoulders, mine tend to roll inwards. So after I release my shoulders down, I always remind myself to squeeze them back as well. Remember: shoulders down and back. down and back. down and back.
3. Sit up straight!
I’m on my feet a lot at work but when I do sit down, I often catch myself slouching in the chair. BAD.
To correct this, I remind myself to move my butt to the very back of the chair, sit up with a straight spine, and release my shoulders back and down. GOOD.
3. Roll out!
I picked up this awesome tip from my good friends at Fuel Training Club. I actually even invested in a lacrosse ball and foam roller for home because I find rolling out my muscles to be so effective in improving my posture. I use these two bad boys to dig into the tight muscles that are causing tension and bad posture - especially my back and shoulders.
I use the lacrosse ball between me and the wall or the floor to get into tight muscles in my back, shoulders, triceps and chest. I also use the foam roller to get into those tight muscles in my back, arms and legs. It hurts, but in a good way.
Here’s Fuel Training Club’s trainer Jamie Snow with a demonstration of how to roll out those tight muscles in your chest.
4. Strengthen the core and other posture-related muscles.
The core includes your abdominal muscles but also the muscles in your back and hips that help stabilize your spine and keep it in alignment. If your core is weak, it is difficult to maintain proper alignment. So strengthen that core by incorporating exercises like plank, supermans and hip bridges.
Consider incorporating other exercises and stretches into your daily routine that will help promote good posture. Yoga and pilates are especially great for this. Here’s some good ones to get you started:
- 10 easy stretches for better posture
- Yoga workouts for perfect posture
- 5 exercises to fix hunchback posture
5. Be aware of how you sleep.
The way you sleep can have a huge impact on your posture. Sleeping on the stomach can exaggerate lordosis (inward curve of the spine), using too many pillows can cause a forward tilt of the head and sleeping on your side can pull your head and shoulders forward. Sleeping with your hands above your head can also cause muscle tension and strain. Professionals tend to agree that the best sleep position is on your back with your hands at your sides. (Until you start to snore….)
So to summarize:
- Tuck your tail and release your shoulders down and back.
- Sit up straight.
- Roll out and strengthen posture-related muscles like the core.
- Be aware of how you sleep.