Bad posture often comes about from bad habits. Maybe you carry a heavy bag on one shoulder, wear uncomfortable shoes, or you have had an injury and your body has adjusted to compensate for it? No matter what the reason, bad posture is often habit forming, as your muscles and ligaments adjust to the way you are holding yourself.
Prolonged poor posture can lead to numerous health conditions such as:
- Pain and discomfort in the shoulders, neck and back
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Muscle atrophy and weakness
- Digestive issues
- Respiratory issues
- Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
- More susceptible to injury
- General stiffness and discomfort
The good news is that you can retrain your body to have good posture, by both working on strengthening your core as well as checking in with your posture on a daily basis. Gradually over time you can start to implement some good postural habits that will improve your overall posture and may even improve your mood and outlook on life!
Here are some tips to help correct your posture on a daily basis:
- Lock in your core, by consciously pulling your belly button towards your backbone. This will help strengthen and uplift your core.
- Consciously align your ears, shoulders and hips, so that they don’t jut to the sides.
- Lift your shoulders up, draw them back, then relax them down. This back, yet relaxed down state is the natural way they should rest to give you the best posture.
- Check the weight distribution between your feet.
- Check the positioning of your feet in a relaxed standing position. Check that they are evenly apart and your toes are pointing forwards, or both slightly out to each side.
When it comes to the exercises needed to help support a healthy spine and good posture, the key is balance and core workouts. Strengthening your whole core will go a long way towards helping encourage good posture, however, there needs to be a balance. If you take away from this that you need to build stronger abdominals to the neglect of your back muscles, you are only going to exacerbate poor posture.
Some good core strengthening exercises that you can utilise in your posture improving workout include:
- Plank and the variations of the plank - These are fantastic all over core focused exercises that will help you build the strength you need to stand upright.
- Dumbbell side bends - Working on strengthening your obliques is very important for spine support and stability.
- Reverse Dumbbell fly - This works at strengthening your upper body, helping reverse rounded shoulders and giving you a natural upright posture.
- Back extensions - These really focus on your lower and upper back which are needed for both stability as well as helping your shoulders sit naturally back and down.
- Seated dumbbell rows - This exercise really works to strengthen your middle back, so that you are getting an overall core workout.