How to Improve Your Posture and Boost Your Health
On our path to becoming stronger, leaner and healthier, we often forget about our posture. According to the experts, our posture plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy weight. When we slouch our body , our spine is unable to align correctly. Improper posture can potentially cause imbalances that apply unnecessary stress or risk of injury to your shoulders, neck, back, and legs as they try to compensate for the spine. This in turn can lead to poor circulation, tension, and back, shoulder and neck. Discrepant posture is often a result of one or more of the following:
- improper techniques used during exercise and sport
- incorrect ergonomics as it relates to standing, sitting and sleeping patterns
- muscle or skeletal imbalance
- an untreated or undiagnosed injury
There are several great benefits to improving our posture. Proper alignment forces us to pull everything up and in and viola- we look slimmer-hence those shots where we stand straight and hold our tummies in a little tighter, all in an effort to appear thinner and we do. Sounds simple right? It can be with some effort, dedication, medical help (if necessary) and consistency.
Practice, practice and more practice , will gradually improve your posture. Making ongoing efforts to be conscious and aware of your body will definitely help as well. By practicing to stand up straight on a continual basis, you will build and strengthen your core muscles. With a little practice, exercise or chiropractic help, if need be, standing up straight will eventually become more instinctual, natural and comfortable.
How will improvements in my posture burn more calories?
When we build muscle, we burn more calories. So, just by standing up straight during the day, we can burn more calories. You’re burning fat by building muscles and using energy by maintaining proper posture. Improving posture, and burning calories at the same time. Could it get any easier than that?
How will improving my posture help me breathe better?
According to American Chiropractic Association, slumping can potentially limit the diaphragm’s capacity to expand, resulting in shallow breathing and slow circulation. Good posture enables your respiratory system to work to its maximum abilities. As we breathe better we also activate our metabolism and burn calories faster- yippie! It’s a fact that when we feel better physically, we’re more inclined to exercise and be active. Which can inevitably help you get more out of your workout.
What can I do to improve my posture?
Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all solution for improving posture. We all have different bodily types and variations with our body and postural habits. One of the first steps to improvement is to assess your current posture. Do your shoulders hunched forward or pull far back? They should rest easy on top of your body. The head should lift up from the spine but not pull. The neck should feel comfortable. Make sure your knees are not locked and your joints are free.
Here’s a quick posture check by James Emmett, Chiropractor and Owner of the Centrum Chiropractic Clinic in Ottawa, Canada. Emmett recommends the following self-check:
1. Take off your shoes and find a flat expanse of wall.
2. With your back to the wall, press your heels and bum against it.
3. Slide one of your hands between the wall and your low back.
The space should only be about the width of your hand, says Emmett. Anything much bigger and you know there’s a problem with overcurvature. For a more concise assessment of your posture, you might consider meeting with a orthopedic specialist, chiropractor, physiotherapist or personal trainer.
Additional benefits of good posture:
- reduce strain on your joints and muscles
- help you feel and look years younger.
- help you to become more confident
- aid in prevention of injury
How can strengthen my body?
Taking a Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates or dance class are all great options to learn more ways to learn more about improving and strengthening your body. These forms of exercise focus on alignment and enhance controlled movement of the spine, which can, with time, significantly enhance your posture. In might be helpful to incorporating exercises into your workout regimen that emphasize strengthening your chest, arm muscles, upper back and shoulders. Balance is also important. It is essential that you vary your exercises to avoid focusing on a specific muscle group. Exercising regularly and correctly will improve balance and strength. A personal trainer can help develop an exercise program to help you readily attain your goals.