Want to look 10 pounds lighter in seconds? Then straighten up! Good posture is a cornerstone for good health. It helps you breathe better, improves circulation, increases energy and helps you move more easily. It can also make you look slimmer, taller and more confident.
What does it mean to have good posture? Generally speaking, correct posture means that the three natural curves in your back — at the neck, upper back and lower back — are maintained in balanced alignment.
Standing with good posture means not slouching, but also not standing overly straight (military style).
To check your posture, stand in front of a full-length mirror:
- Stand facing the mirror. Your shoulders, hips and knees should be aligned, and your head should be straight, not tilted or turned.
- Stand sideways to the mirror. Imagine a line running through your ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle. It should run in a straight vertical line. Your spine, however, won’t — you should see the three natural curves of your back.
Tips for picture-perfect posture
- Stand straight. Get into the habit of checking your posture and correct it as required. Your shoulders should be in line with your ears (not drooped forward or pulled back), your chin should be parallel to the floor, and your tummy should be flat.
- Sleep well. Make sure your mattress is firm and use a pillow just large enough to maintain the natural curve of your neck.
- Sit with support. Adjust your work chair so your feet are flat on the floor, with your knees bent at a 90° angle. Make sure the lower part of your back is supported by the back of your chair. You may need to use a rolled towel or special lumbar support.
- Move around. Avoid sitting or standing for too long in the same position. Move and stretch at least every 30-45 minutes.
- Be strong. Weak muscles provide poor support for your body. Try to follow an exercise plan that includes movements to strengthen legs, abdominals and back.
- Break bad habits. Try to avoid actions that create misalignment or uneven stress on your body, such as carrying a heavy purse over one shoulder, cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder, or always carrying your child on one hip.
Develop your lower abs for better posture. Try this exercise anywhere: Focusing on your lower abdominals, pull your belly button into your spine and imagine pulling it upwards. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat five times.