As kids, we’ve been constantly barraged by reminders to “sit up straight” and “not slouch”. We all know the consequences of not complying: a bad posture and an even worse tongue-lashing from our parents. Somewhere down the road, we started to forget the value of this sagely advice.
Having a good posture is beyond appearing confident and well put-together; it reduces the likelihood of back pains and other physiological problems. As adults, we can continue to foster awareness towards maintaining a good posture. Here’s how:
1. Assess your posture
You can evaluate your posture by yourself or by going to a healthcare professional or posturologist. For the former, you would need a long mirror to look at your sitting and standing positions from the side and the front. Readjust your body when needed to get that good posture and try to commit it to your muscle memory. From the side, your entire spine should resemble a gentle “S” shape. Hips should be in line with the shoulders, which in turn should be slightly retracted and depressed. Think “tall chest” and “neutral spine”.
2. Walk like you mean it
As much as possible, avoid wearing high heels as they can strain the lower back and tighten the calves. Walk with a straight back as if someone is pulling your hair upwards. Imagine how a confident walk would look like; that’s what you want to go for.
3. Sit with support
For those who spend long hours seated in the office, it would be wise to invest in an adjustable chair that has good lumbar support and armrests. Place your feet flat on the floor and keep your thighs horizontal. Occasionally, take a break from sitting by standing up and moving around. This will help to increase blood circulation and keep your muscles nimble.
4. Exercise for posture
Certain exercises strengthen parts of your body that provide the support when it comes to maintaining good posture. For example, Romanian deadlifts stimulate the hamstrings and glutes, which improve your hip’s ability to support your body’s weight while walking. Other stretches or movements that target your posterior chain (upper and lower back, glutes and hamstrings) can help as well.
With conscious effort, a good posture can be cultivated to prevent any back injuries and alleviate existing back pains. That being said, a healthcare professional should be consulted when it comes to acute back conditions such as scoliosis. When it comes to chronic issues however, a simple tweak in posture can work wonders. Be disciplined, do the necessary research and seek professional guidance, and you’ll be well on your way to better posture!