How To Improve Your Posture, In 6 Simple Steps
Growing up, my mother constantly nagged at me about my posture — so nobody needed advice on how to improve your posture more than I did. "Little R" she called me semi-lovingly, semi-concerned for the future shape of my back. She'd stand next to me while I watched TV or played with my toys or did my homework, hunched over, and snap her fingers to get my attention and startle me upright. I had terrible posture. It was a mix of feeling insecure about my body and wanting to curl into myself... but it was also just being lazy.
But as I got older, my poor posture became less of a warning and more of a pain — I actually started to experience pain in my lower back and shoulders after a day on hunching. I had frequent headaches and often felt lightheaded. After a trip to my doctor, I was told that my poor posture might have something to do with it. Slouching isn't just about how you present yourself — it's an undesirable shape for your respiratory and circulatory system. Not to mention, the strain put on your neck by letting your head hang low can create some really terrible headaches. I had a few options — I could invest in a back brace (which I knew I'd never wear), or I could take note of some tips and tricks to help me to remember to sit up right. Here are a few of those:
Imagine that your spine extends up through the top of your head like a string. You want that string to remain completely straight at all times so when you're sitting or standing, imagine that invisible string and shift your hips and shoulders and the top of your head so that they're all in line.
Our bodies are not meant to sit for long periods of time, especially reaching forward towards a computer keyboard. Make sure you get up and walk around as often as possible. If you can, bring your keyboard closer to your chest so that your arms are not out in front of you all day.
Holding the phone between your ear and your shoulder puts an awful strain on your neck, and leaning forward to text all day does quite a number on your back. Try using Bluetooth or headphones to talk on the phone and force yourself to sit upright if you're getting involved in a long text or Instagram stalk session.
Roll Your Shoulders
Remind yourself a few times throughout the day to roll your shoulders back and pull your elbows in and back towards your backside. This motion will cause you to push your chest forward which will open up your ribs, allow you to breathe more easily, and as any yogi would say, let your heart shine.
Pick Smart Shoes
High heels are no good for your back. If you want to practice good posture, it's important to have a sturdy foundation which means wearing a supportive shoe. That doesn't mean you need to wear your grandfather's posturepedic moon shoe, it just means you should avoid high heels and unsupportive flats when necessary.
Be A Queen
The way you hold yourself says so much about how you value yourself. Puff out your chest, lift your head off your shoulders, and show yourself off, because you're amazing. Let people know that you value yourself, don't hide behind your shoulders. You're worth showing off.
Images: Warner Bros, Giphy (6)