There is so much talk about what foods to eat and what exercises to do for weight loss, but many people forget to consider posture.
What is posture?
Posture refers to the collective positioning of muscles and bones within the body. These work together to allow movement as basically every bone/joint in our body provides attachments for one or several muscles. If you have 'good' posture, there is minimal amounts of negative stress or strain placed on muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities (like resistance training).
Without good posture it is harder to perform at your best and be physically fit. This is something that many people don't think about when first starting an exercise regime, yet is super important to achieve great results. Correct posture can decrease abnormal wearing down of joints, which could eventually result in arthritis. Another bonus is it may help to prevent general aches and pains in your muscles - winning! If your muscles and joints are working together effectively and to the best of their capabilities, you are able to perform better and minimise stress on your body, which also reduces discomfort and injury when exercising.
If you are hunched over right now whilst reading this, don't stress! It is possible to correct your posture and make improvements.
How does poor posture happen?
Poor posture can occur from a variety of factors. Some of the most common ones are:
- Injuries and falls
- A poor mattress
- Improper foot support
- Weak muscles
- Incorrect sitting, standing and sleeping habits
So how do I improve my posture?
There are a few simple changes you can make in your everyday life to improve your posture, which in turn, may ease the pressure on your joints and bones.
For example - when you are standing, your ears, shoulders, hips and ankles should be in one vertical line. Your feet should be hip width apart with your toes pointing forwards, and your knees should also be straight but not locked. It can also help to raise your chin up a little and push out your chest. Spending a few minutes focusing on this each day can really help!
When you are sitting, it is super important to use a chair with firm lower back support and have a desk that is about elbow height. If you sit at a desk all day, especially if working on a computer, make sure to take a minute long break every 20 minutes to give your eyes a break and adjust your posture through light stretching if necessary.
Yoga is also a great way to improve posture as it helps to build strength and improve flexibility, which are necessary to maintain a good posture. Rehabilitation, in the form of stretching, foam rolling and corrective resistance training, can also help to alleviate tension and improve muscle balance on either side of a joint. I use my foam roller after every workout, even when I am tired and want to go to bed - because I know I will feel SO much better in the morning!
If you find that you have incorrect posture, it can be a long process to correct it as you will need to change/adjust a few of your daily habits. However, it is SO worth it! I am continuously working on improving my posture and I have seen so many positive benefits already!