Two very common questions we get from our clients is “What is good posture?” and “How do we get into good posture?”
We tell our clients an important part of good posture is that it is comfortable and you shouldn’t feel like your straining to maintain it. You don’t want to force your bodies into good posture. First, it won’t feel good and if it doens’t feel comfortable, you won’t be able to maintain it.
The first step is to imagine that there is a rope or a string attached to your head and a puppeteer is pulling you up.
Picture them pulling your whole body up into this a comfortable standing upright position. Then you want to take your shoulders and roll them back and gently set them down. Pretend to make half circles with both of your shoulders, rolling them backward then just gently pull them or dropping them downward. This should be done gently and should feel good. You don’t want to force them back or down. Forcing them is hard on the shoulders and makes it difficult to maintain.
Once you are in this position you want to take your chin and just gently pull it in, just a little.
Doing this will put our bodies into alignment or as close to alignment was we can be. You want to align your ears, shoulders, hips when sitting and your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles when standing. Picture an imaginary line running from the ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles. We are not looking at a perfect line, but comfortably getting as close to that line as possible. If you feel any pain or discomfort trying to get your body into alignment you should stop and consult with your doctor.
Once you feel comfortable with this new posture you will need to tighten up the core.
To do this you simply and gently pull your belly button inward about a quarter of an inch. Most of us have stopped using these muscles so we want to re-engage them. This is an easy and simple way to start this process. Tightening your core will help support your postural muscles as you stand or sit in good posture.
Good posture tends to feel good for a couple of seconds and then we easily drop back into bad posture. Why is that?
In the past poor posture was frown upon, and it was very important to be in and to maintain good posture. So by default most people had good posture. Good posture became a habit. Good posture just doesn’t have the some social enforcement as it did in the past. So not only are we not taught good posture as kids, it’s not required for social acceptance. Whether that is good or bad is not for me to say. It just means that you have to learn what good posture feels like and you have to be willing to practice it everyday. Plus in today’s society many of us sit to much either at work, at home or in the car. Sitting for long periods of time is hard on our posture. Finally we have electric devices that pull our attention and our bodies forward. You know what I’m referring to… computers, tablets and cell phones. All of these things make it very difficult to have and to maintain good posture.
Finally how do I keep my body in good posture?
The key is knowledge and having an awareness of how our body feels. Since good posture isn’t second nature anymore, we are less likely to stay in good posture when we are focused on other things. Once we focus our attention on work, the TV show, the computer or, driving, we quickly slip out of good posture. You need to retrain your body and your mind. The best way to do that is to set a timer for every 15 minutes. When the timer goes off you move your body back into good posture and go back to doing what is was your were doing. Yes, really program the timer to go off every 15 minutes. This is call re-programming you body into good posture. In time your body will re-adjust to good posture before the timer goes off.