And finally, we will be discussing one of my favorite topics today – the importance of proper posture! You can`t even begin to imagine how beneficial is proper posture, not just for our physical health but for our mental hygiene as well.
By practicing good posture you will get back pain relief, safeguard your back for future problems, be sure your back muscles are developing properly, but you can also boost your self-confidence raise your self-esteem.
Many people label poor posture as a “condition” or a state our body is in right now, but I like to think of poor posture as a way of life. You can`t just wake up one morning, look yourself in the mirror and say “What is this, poor posture? Well, this wasn’t here yesterday!”
Of course, you can say that but people have to realize that back posture is the result of our accumulated choices and decisions (good or bad) literally from the day we became aware of the fact that we had a back, up until this very day.
So what is poor posture? Well, it basically represents an imbalance within the muscles of our back. Due to certain sitting, standing and work habits in combination with repetitive movement, some muscles of our back can become tight and shortened while others might stretch and become weaker; resulting in overall poor back posture.
Proper posture is not something easily achievable, but it is definitely possible. Any good posture practitioner will surely tell you that it took them months or even years just to grow more awareness of their posture, and to develop the discipline to correct themselves.
Physical benefits of good posture:
- Back pain prevention
- Back pain relief
- Proper development of the spine and back muscles
- Proper development of bones, joints, and ligaments
- And overall good appearance
Psychological benefits – I don’t see many articles online dealing with the psychological/emotional benefits of proper posture. I don’t know if you heard of Tony Robbins, but he is one of the most incredible people I had the pleasure of listening to.
In one of his seminars, he associates emotional distress, fear, anxiety and stress with the way our body acts. In those moments our breath is shallow, we lower our voice and also hunch over, bringing our shoulders forward.
Now, when we are happy, free of stress and generally feeling good about ourselves, our body looks quite the opposite of the picture we`ve painted above. You start breathing deeply, gain a sense of certainty and fill yourself with self-esteem. Not only that, your body changes as well – you are no longer hunched over, your back is straight, your shoulders are back, basically you are opening yourself (and your body) to the world.
So, if you understand these basic principles (I`ve made an effort to simplify them as much as I could), you can “manipulate” the way you feel simply by manipulating your posture.
If you don’t believe me, try it. Next time you feel down, just shake up your body, start breathing deeply, put your shoulders back and assume the proper posture. You will feel an unbelievable difference, trust me!
Yes, it`s hard to imagine but we can actually influence our posture while we sleep, and we influence it by making the right choices before going to bed. Those choices are:
- Getting a proper mattress
- Try sleeping on your back (I can`t seem to master it but you are free to try)
- You can also try sleeping on your side
- Get some cushions for better back support
- Go to bed and get up on time – meaning go to bed by 10:30 and get up no later than 6 AM.
These are all smaller changes, but if you combine them together, you will feel a great deal of difference.
If you are really serious about your back and want to improve your posture, there is no way you can do it without implementing some sort of exercise system you could follow on a daily basis.
- First you must get in touch with your proper posture. Get a mirror, and try to align your ear, shoulder and hip in a straight line. You cannot correct yourself if you don’t know where is your starting point. I recommend doing this at least couple times a day, for a week; or until you get the hang of it.
- Prone Cobra – I have to admit I have been doing this exercise for quite some time and have just recently found out it is called “Prone Cobra” :) Anyways, it is really easy, just lie down flat on your stomach and bring your face, arms and legs up. This exercise will strengthen your back muscles.
- The second one is also performed while lying down flat on your stomach but this time you will just be lifting your arms along with the shoulders. Bring your arms in front of you and try lifting them and, at the same time, try to squeeze the shoulder blades to each other.
- Don’t forget stretching. As we`ve said earlier, the result of poor posture is tightening of some of the back muscles so we need to get the blood flowing through them and stretch them properly. The best way to stretch them is to flex your head, bringing your chin closer to your chest. Hold the stretch for couple seconds and then release; repeat 10-15 times. You can also use your arms to force a bit more stretching, but only if you are comfortable with it.
- Wave with your elbows. This is a great little exercise and I use it quite often. You can stand up straight or sit, lift your arms to 90 degrees and flex them in the elbow (so your hands are touching your shoulders). Now move your elbows up and down as though they are wings and you are about to take off :)
You can also practice yoga. There is a great course I found online, you can take a look here: Shapeshifter Yoga
You can also try posture shirt. Find out more about it here: Amazon Posture Shirts
NOTE: HelpYourBack.org is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.