Is Posture Correction Possible?
The more comfortable your body is, the more energy you will reserve for the rest of your day.
We’ve all been told to sit up straight at least once in our lives while we’re slouching in our chairs. You may even be hunched over your phone or your computer right now while reading this article (it’s okay, we don’t judge). But beyond sitting up straight, what else is good posture helpful for?
Bad posture may seem like more of a vanity concern, but if we stand, sit, or lay down with bad posture for an extended period throughout our lives, it will eventually put stress on our muscles and joints and can lead to more painful damage down the line.
Ever had trouble holding a pose or keeping composed while you’re working out? Good posture can help with that! It will aid in maintaining correct form, ultimately leading to fewer injuries and better workouts altogether. Plus, your newfound balance can even strengthen your abilities when it comes to just about any of your go-to workouts, whether it’s an involved sport like strength training or boxing, your favorite yoga class, or as simple as your daily run.
Maintaining a balanced posture can help your overall well-being, making your day-to-day business a breeze on top of reducing the potential for chronic pain in your future. Bad posture, especially when you’re sitting down, can also comprise your thoracic region, stopping your diaphragm from fully opening when breathing in and out. Better posture means better breathing.
Positive changes to your posture can also help aid in some of our most simple body functions. Studies have shown that good posture can significantly improve our digestion and increase circulation and blood flow. Plus, good posture uses less energy throughout the day.
What makes posture good and bad?
How can you tell when your posture is bad without having someone else point it out? Good posture will keep your spine in sync, straight up and down. Bad posture tends to show itself in different ways. A common sign of bad posture is when your head and shoulders are hunched forward, disrupting the alignment in your spine. This will also cause your abdomen to protrude forward and overarch your spine. If you try to overcorrect your hunched shoulders by pulling them back too far, this also throws your posture off-balance. The goal is to maintain a balanced, upright posture with your shoulders down and relaxed.
Daily stretches and exercises to improve posture:
Bad posture isn’t simply just a bad habit that we held onto throughout the years–a lack of flexibility or a weak core and lower leg muscles will disrupt your balance. Engaging in regular exercise and stretches is great for alleviating pain caused by bad posture, those routines will strengthen your core and improve flexibility to ward off those other posture disruptors. We rounded up some stretches and exercises to practice regularly that can help strengthen your core and realign your body’s joints for the perfect posture you’ve been seeking.
This pose will lengthen your spine, glutes, and hamstrings and help release the tension you may be holding in your lower back and neck. Kneel on the floor with your toes together and knees hip-width apart before resting your palms on the top of your thighs. While you exhale, lower your head between your knees before extending your arms alongside your torso, palms facing down. Begin to relax your shoulders toward the ground and rest in the pose as long as you need.
Seated Cat-Cow Pose:
This simple pose is a restorative pose that can be used to ease your lower back and spine and can be done anytime, anywhere, with no equipment necessary. While sitting in a chair, start with your hands on your knees. As you inhale, lift your chest up and forward. As you exhale, tuck your chin into your chest and round your spine.
Downward Facing Dog:
This pose will help balance out your body, relieving back pain while strengthening and aligning your back muscles. Start on all fours, aligning your wrists and shoulders with toes tucked. As you exhale, push your hips up and back while straightening your legs. Engage your arms while keeping your shoulders back and away from your eyes. To engage your core and legs, lift through your knees.
A side plank will target your obliques and gluteus medius, thus creating more stability in your lower back and pelvis to improve posture. Lie on your side with your elbow directly under your shoulder. Engage your lower abs before lifting your hips into the air while you create a straight line from your head to your toes. You can add a yoga block to enhance this pose.
This move might seem familiar from your barre classes, working the muscles in your feet and legs to support your good posture. Stand with your feet a few inches apart, resting your hands on a surface like a counter in front of you. Slowly raise your heels off the floor, keeping your knees straight. Hold for a few seconds before lowering your heels to the floor.
Seated Stability Ball Roll:
This move will strengthen your upper back and shoulders to prevent them from slumping forward. Sit on your stability ball with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and your neck aligned with your back. With a weight in each hand, have your palms facing each other with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Row the weights out to your sides while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
At home equipment that helps posture correct:
If you’ve been trying to go one step further than introducing some daily stretches into your daily routine, it may be time to check out some at-home gear to work on correcting your posture. While supportive correctors can be helpful for added reinforcement on your neck and back, they should always be combined with your regular stretches to avoid becoming too dependent on them.
There are plenty of posture correctors out on the market, like lumbar and clavicle braces, innovative sports bras, and wearable devices that can provide extra support in the areas where you need it and help train yourself to be more aware of when you’re slouching.
A yoga wheel is another versatile piece of workout equipment that will go beyond enhancing flexibility for your regular yoga regime. With regular use, a yoga wheel, or even a foam roller, can relieve tension and release muscle tightness in your back, shoulders, and hip. It’ll also help engage your core and strengthen those muscles with time, which is a win/win situation in our book.