09 Oct The top 5 ways to improve your posture
When I ask new clients how they would rate their posture, just about everyone says “not that great”. But the importance of proper posture is almost impossible to overstate. Good posture can save you from a host of health problems. Poor posture can lead to headaches, back and neck pain, shoulder impingement and even breathing problems. Having good posture allows us to move efficiently, improves muscle function and increases range of motion. Plus perfect posture makes you appear taller, slimmer and gives you that air of confidence!
So if you feel your posture could be improved, read my top 5 tips:
1. Move more
Break up long bouts of sitting down with short walks and moving around. Every hour, spend a few minutes stretching or walking around to “reset” your back and hips. As you walk, pull back your shoulders, hold your head high and concentrate on how good it feels to move with proper posture. Your mood, thinking and health will all benefit.
2. Pilates for better posture
Pilates is a mind-body intervention that focuses on core stability, posture, flexibility, strength, breathing and movement control. It is the focus on posture and the control of body position that underpins why Pilates is great for improving posture and giving long lasting relief from postural pains and strains.
(If you want to give Pilates a try, Good2Grand holds an 8:00 am Pilates in the Park session every second Saturday at Harry Noble Reserve Erskineville. If you are interested, let me know).
3. Check your work environment
When seated, keep your back straight, your knees and your hips level and your feet flat on the ground. Try to avoid crossing your legs (it takes the hips out of alignment). You may need a footrest to keep your hips and knees level. If you sit for long periods you should support your lower back against the back of your chair with a lumbar pillow.
If you are on the phone a lot, use a headset or maybe even try a standing desk. A stability ball is also good to sit on as it forces you to activate your core more than sitting on a normal chair.
4. Use backpacks
My bad posture started at high school lugging around a heavy bag on one shoulder (so now my right shoulder is lower than my left). So take care when carrying heavy bags of books, computer equipment or shopping. Make sure you distribute the weight of your bags evenly on either side of your body. A backpack is perfect in distributing weight evenly over your shoulders.
5. When you were sleeping
Is your mattress saggy or lumpy? Do you wake up with aches and pains? Do you sleep better when you’re away from home than in your own bed? Then it may be time to start searching for a new mattress.
If you wake up with a sore neck or a headache, then it’s probably a good time to look for a new pillow too.
In order to improve your sleep posture, choose positions that help keep your spine in alignment. If you have chronic problems with headaches, back pain, heartburn, sleep apnea or fatigue, your sleep positions may be exacerbating these problems.
If you tend to sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned and to prevent you from twisting to rest your knee on the mattress. When you find you sleep more on your back, place a pillow underneath your knees to keep your back is in the optimal position. With stomach sleepers, you need to work a little harder as this is often considered the worst sleeping position for posture. If you do sleep on your tummy a lot, place a thin pillow underneath your pelvis and stomach to take some of the pressure off of your neck.