Your posture says much you.
How and why we sit, stand and walk the way we do is multifaceted. Nature and nurture both play their roles. In fact, research reveals your posture is directly related to your personality. Posture can be shaped by your self-esteem, daily behaviours and your body strength.
What kind of posture do you have?
Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting you.
Although it is important to have ‘good’ posture, many of us don’t do anything to improve it. In many cases this can be due to lack of self-awareness.
We may not notice our backs starting to hunch from long hours sitting or standing at the computer or our hips becoming imbalanced from wearing shoes and not going barefoot often enough to help strengthen our feet, ankles, big toe and the supportive soft tissue and structures around the joints in our lower limbs.
Having good posture is more than your appearance.
Over time poor posture can lead to …
Chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome/occupational overuse syndrome
It’s not all gloom and doom. With a little effort, you can change your posture for the better and feel amazing at the same time! You simply have to want it. And the key is to apply it in small doses.
How can we improve our posture?
Become more self-aware
Identifying good posture and comparing it to your current habits is the first step to fixing any imperfections you may have. It’s ideal to have your posture checked by a health professional such as a physiotherapist. You’ll be surprised how ‘good’ posture can feel. After I was moved gently into a correct posture for sitting, standing and walking, I felt initially like I was leaning forward. Then I checked in the mirror and I was straight!
Practice healthy sitting
Use ergonomic principles to optimise your sitting posture. If you are sitting for long periods, remember to stand, walk around and shake it out frequently. (6 min amazing TedX talk)
Protect your spine when catching zzz’s
We spend about a third of our life sleeping so it is important we protect our spine. Cleveland Clinic has tips on best for you sleeping posture, pillow placement and more.
Strengthen muscles that maintain posture
You can improve your posture significantly (and simply feel amazing, we can vouch for this) by doing exercises that focus on strength training. Body weight exercise, the use of resistance bands and basic weight training can significantly improve back strength and posture. Do not overlook the power of this in correcting imbalances in your body. It works.
Spend as much time as you can barefoot. No, stockings and socks are still foot coverings. Do this in the office, do this at home. Kick your shoes off and walk around. Get outside at least 2 times a week for a few minutes of barefoot time on grass, sand or dirt.
Consciously splay your toes to help your balance. Sway gently back and forth and rock side to side. The stimulation through the nerve endings in your feet is phenomenal. You will almost immediately feel more enlivened. The small swaying motions also help open up your hips. One of the best things you can do for your posture and your health generally.
It’s often the simple things that work best for us.