With our modern culture of sitting and slumping, our postures are suffering more than ever. Since good posture is associated with a more positive life outlook, and a poor posture encourages pain and higher cortisol levels, it is a good idea to take note of these 3 tips that will help you feel and appear more confident.
Roll your shoulders. Sounds simple enough, no? Many of us stand with our shoulders curved forward — so that our palms no longer hang parallel to our sides, but in front towards our thighs. This slumping is often the result of too much computer time and poor sitting habits. While they need to be stretched and strengthened in one way or another, your shoulders can be quickly readjusted with a simple fix — roll them back. Just as you would roll your shoulders up to your ears and down your back before working out, give them a few rotations to loosen out the kinks. Then, once they’ve slid down your back, keep them there. Feel the openness of the front of your chest and the strength in your upper back. By keeping your shoulders in this general positioning as much as you can, you’ll retrain your upper body on how to hold itself. Eventually, with conscious effort, your shoulders will set into their natural place without a second thought.
Use your butt. With all of the sitting we do, our gluteal muscles are prone to become inactive and can begin to atrophy. But, our butts play a huge role in supporting our lower backs. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that a ‘J’ shaped spinal curvature is what we should aim for — not an ’S’ — which places even more importance on our backsides. Many cases of low back pain in adults is caused in one way or another by weakness or imbalance in the gluteals. So, use your butt more. Consciously activate it when you are power walking, or set aside time to perform specific gluts-isolating exercises. Your butt surrounds the base of your spine — if you don’t have a solid foundation, the rest of the spine has nothing to go on.
Don’t force it. Forcing your posture can encourage over- or under-arching of the spine. Instead of pushing your chest forward and tucking your butt under — military-style — focus on lengthening the back of your neck and spinal column into the sky. Lengthening encourages the spine to maintain its natural shape, but eases the compression and stress caused by poor habits. A strong core to fall back on is of paramount importance as well, so keep those exercises up at any age.
Do you sit staring at a screen most days? Do you suffer from back pain or stiffness? Try to rework your posture and keep your spine mobile. Once you melt through the years of habit and tension, you may emerge appearing more positive, productive, confident, and pain-free than ever before!
source: care2.com, Jordyn Cormier