Have you every noticed you have terrible posture? Here is an introductory list of ways to improve your posture. Keep in mind that some posture problems may be caused by skeletal defects that can’t be completely remedied — especially on your own. Don’t hesitate to get help from a professional that assesses posture. A professional will help you learn with a lifetime benefit that muscles aren’t only designed to be strong for motion, but also firm for stabilization and postural alignment. Your posture might benefit more from your own glance in a mirror or a reflection in a window.
Sitting with your head forward at work for long periods can tighten muscles on the front side of your body, and overstretch muscles on the rear side of your body or posterior. The result can be a head that stays shift forward and rounded shoulders. Many people choose exercises that they think help them look good. Biceps curls, for example, help your arms but don’t help your posture. Focus on the muscles that bring your body into proper alignment.
Learn to work your muscles that control and stabilize your shoulder blades (scapula) with exercises such as posterior deltoids with scapular retraction and also shrugs that work your trapezius muscle. Don’t roll when you do shrugs. Stand with your knees slightly bent, abs tight, and move your shoulders straight up and down (don’t roll your shoulders).
Strengthen your abdominal muscles so that they help stabilize your core. Abs are important for “splinting” your abdominal organs and for supporting your rib cage. Firm abs prevent a protruding, sagging abdomen. Firm abs also provide an uplifting force under the rib cage, which can elongate your spinal column while preventing excess curvature of the lumbar region of your low back.
Last, but not least, understand how to train your spinal extension muscles, which are very important for posture and stabilization of the spinal column for the prevention of injuries. Learn that the power for uprighting your upper body should primarily come from your gluteus maximus muscles and hamstring (as hip extensors); not your spinal muscles, which should function more as stabilizers for the spine.
Keep in mind, bad posture is related to bad exercise form; and bad form can cause injuries in the gym and on the athletic field. Improving your posture can help you understand the basics of good exercise form.
Our bodies aren’t designed to sit for hours on end. Lack of exercise can lead to bad posture as well as a weak cardiovascular system. Making sure you stand up and walk away from your desk at least every 30 minutes will greatly help your posture. However, while you’re walking, keep your abs tight, shoulders back and neck and spinal column elongated. In other words, walk tall with your abs tight — again supporting your rib cage.
Roll It Out
Foam rollers are designed to relieve tension and relax your muscles. How perfect for improving your posture! All you have to do is purchase one, lay it on the floor, and roll your body back and forth over the foam. Connecting a foam roller with your most tense areas will help properly relaxation of local muscles.
Locate the sore or tight area of a muscle.
Control your body as you slowly lower the targeted area so it’s centered above the roller — at the peak of the roller.
Lower your body onto the foam roller until you reach a point of slight discomfort (but not pain) and hold the position for about 20–30 seconds.
Remove Your Wallet From Your Back Pocket
First thing’s first: get that bulky wallet out from your back pocket. Carrying it there and sitting on it can be extremely harmful to your body and your posture. Sitting on a thick wallet causes pain, leaves your hips unbalanced, and is just plain uncomfortable. Deciding against sitting on that big bulky wallet and switching to a smaller one you can carry in your front pocket, can help your posture.
For best results, its a good idea to see a personal trainer, athletic trainer or even a physical therapist that does posture assessments. Experts can evaluate whether your have tightness or other range of motion problems that are often related to poor posture. The experts should be able to prescribe an exercise program that will balance your muscles and improve the alignment of your posture, so that overtight muscles are elongated and more relaxed; and weak and overstretched muscles are strengthened.