Today I want to focus on how to improve posture. For most people, exercise, regular workouts in the fitness center or wellness treatments are the key to a beautiful body. Add to that balanced, healthy eating habits – and everything should be perfect.
More about that in a minute.
What is bad posture?
Those of you with posture problems are often walking around bent over. Your shoulder blades sag and your back is arched. This is not only bad for your health but also looks terrible.
Do you have a slight stomach? Bear in mind that a poor posture will highlight your not-so-flat-belly, making it look even bigger than it is. This can happen even to overall slim people – just look at the picture below.
Benefits of good posture
Standing up with straight shoulders, lifted breasts and tucked in stomach muscles can benefit you in several ways:
1) Contributes to a slimmer appearance
When you are standing in a straight line, you can look not only taller but also slimmer. Some claim that you might appear up to ten pounds lighter with perfect posture. Ok, ten pounds? That sounds a bit exaggerated…
But the fact is that with a proper posture, your vitals in the stomach area are not forward-pressed and your stomach will seem to be much flatter.
But there is more…
2) Boosts your self-confidence
This one should be obvious. Standing up straight exudes much more self-confidence. You are rather noticed that if you walk ducked through your life. And as the saying goes: “self-confidence is sexy“ – which is another plus factor for those of you who want to look better.
3) Influences a proper state of mind
The Japanese martial artist Morihei Ueshiba once said:
“A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.”
And he is absolutely right! Your posture is highly influenced by your state of mind. If you are feeling bad and weak, then your body language will show a closed, stiff posture.
If you are feeling great and strong, your body language will show an open, relaxed and powerful posture.
But did you know that the other way round works too? You can influence your state of mind by your posture. Your mind and emotions are connected with your body. With a change in posture, you can impact your emotional state. Yes, you read that right!
This is not a magic trick, but rather it is something very simple you can integrate easily into your daily routine.
Take a close look at yourself
Ask a friend to take a picture of you in profile or stand in front of a mirror. If you want the best reality check, glance at your reflection in a store window as you walk past. If you walk straight, then you might skip this challenge and iterate instead those keystone habits that aren’t sticking yet.
If you notice, however, that you are slouched – then read on and learn how to improve posture easily!
3 step habit change to stand up straight
- Use it as a trigger; look at yourself daily in the mirror or store window when you walk past.
- Try to correct the slouching by tucking in your chin and stomach muscles. Lift your breast and stretch out your spine. This is a position to strive for because, as you know, your spine is supposed to be gently curved.
- Pretend that you are trying to be a half inch taller. Try the following visualization: Imagine a fishing line that passes through your ear, to your shoulder, to your hip, knee and your ankle on each side. If you can think about standing that straight, that’s the posture to strive for. Don’t stop after checking and correcting it once, repeat every day to make it become routine. Once you have automated this habit (after several weeks), you can reward yourself (e.g. with a great pair of MBT Shoes that I describe below).
3 additional ways to improve posture
Here are three additional ideas that can help you correct bad bearing:
1) Exercises to improve posture
There are different poses and asanas in ballet and yoga that might help to improve, achieve and maintain a proper position. Did you know that there are even yoga asanas for weight loss? You may want to work on your posture with correcting exercises that strengthen your core muscles until you find the best. Some people like to consult a physical therapist for advice and suggestions.
2) Always sit up straight
When working at your desk, place your feet flat on the floor with your knees lined up with your hips. Your back should rest against the chair. Keep your head erect and set your computer where you have to look at the screen slightly higher than usual.
3) Wear comfortable shoes
Wear stiletto heels only occasionally as they are detrimental to your posture. The opposite extreme, ballet flats, and flip-flops are no good either. They provide no support. Everyday shoes should provide arch support, have wide toe boxes and heels one-half to one-inch high.
My recommendation: MBT shoes
Did you know that you can buy special footwear that is intended to improve bearing? The so-called MBT Shoes do help, and also relieve pressure on your back.
They will allow you to take long walks and spend more time standing up than you do sitting. You will then increase your metabolism and burn extra calories as a result of it by doing more walking. These great shoes firm your abs, legs and gluteus maximus muscles. I can warmly recommend MBT Shoes after wearing them for years.
Now it’s your turn!
What are your thoughts on this challenge? Let me know what you think in the comment section below.