Poor posture is an obvious cause of lower back problems and shoulder and neck pains. Although I can help you out there with a back massage or an Indian Head massage, it’s best to avoid creating tension in the first place.

Poor posture can also be at the root of sluggish digestion and severe headaches. People whose posture makes their heads jut forward have more frequent, longer and more severe headaches than those with correct posture (study published in the journal Headaches).

Bad posture also projects a negative message about your age and health.

And if that’s not enough to convince you to have better posture, look at yourself in the mirror. Purposefully take on a bad posture; slump, round your shoulders, whatever.

Now stand up straight, lengthen your back and neck and draw your stomach muscles in.

Result? You look taller, thinner and more confident.

More? Researchers have found that adopting a “power posture” – body and limbs stretched out – decreases the stress hormone cortisol, helping you feel calmer.

So now you know WHY you should, here’s HOW TO improve your posture – Part 1.

SIT WELL

Advice given by Alexander Technique teacher Angela East (www.stat.org.uk)

Be mindful about how you sit when you eat, drive and work at a computer. If you’re guilty of contorting your body to get nearer your plate, sit up straight and hinge from the hips instead of curving your spine and use your fork to bring food to your mouth.

In the car, try not to grip the steering wheel. Instead, hold it lightly with your elbows by your side and remember to rest your arms in your lap when you stop at traffic lights to help your muscles relax.

In the office, seats should be parallel to the ground at knee height, your feet flat on the floor and your arms dropping downwards. Whatever you’re doing, you need to be sat directly on your sitting bones, which are the knobbly bits you feel if you sit on the palms of your hands.

That’s all for now. More posture advice in my next post.

Source: Prima magazine

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