Did your mother ever tell you to stand up tall or sit up straight? Well, she was right if she did nag you about your posture. Posture matters!
Poor posture can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain. Exercising with poor posture can increase risk of injury and cause more harm than good. Poor posture can also decrease your balance and increase risk of falling.
Good posture allows you to stay active longer, have a more youthful appearance, increases your energy level and improves balance. It also decreases risk of falling, strengthens core muscles, improves blood flow, increases confidence and improves your ability to breathe deeply.
If you are unsure of your posture, I would recommend looking in a mirror, both front and sideways, or taking a picture of yourself.
When you are sitting, you want your head, and specifically your ears, over your shoulders and your shoulders stacked over your pelvis. It is also best to sit with feet flat on the floor and hips above your knees.
Our bodies were designed to move, so even if you are sitting, it is important to change positions frequently. Set a timer or reminder on your phone or computer to take movement breaks throughout the day to avoid staying in one position for too long.
With so much time spent sitting at a computer, watching TV or using tablets and phones it is easy to get into a habit of slouching or rounding your shoulders and looking down. Holding your phone at eye level can help improve posture, and making sure to adjust your computer monitor so that you can look at the screen at eye level can also help.
It takes 3 weeks (but usually longer) to change a behavior, so be mindful of your posture and practice the exercises below frequently to make a positive change.
Standing Posture Exercise to try:
- Stand with your heels approximately 12 inches from the wall and lean back so that your buttock and shoulders touch the wall.
- Try to get your head to touch the wall too, but if it doesn’t, make sure to look straight ahead and keep your ears over shoulders. If you are able to do this, try to move your heels closer to the wall.
- Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and repeat 10 times
Seated Posture Exercise to try:
- Sit at the edge of a chair and lift your chest up and shoulders back, with your ears being aligned over your shoulders.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds and then relax back down to your resting posture. – – Repeat this 10 times and try to hold this position for longer if you can.
If you have questions about your posture or would like more guidance on postural exercises contact A to Z Personal Wellness.