Having good posture can provide neck and back pain relief as well as help people look better and taller, reduce headaches and assist with more productive and efficient workouts. However, many people suffer from poor posture because of muscle imbalances, sitting hunched over a computer all week and not enough stretching.
There are a variety of reasons you should strive toward good posture including:
Athletic performance: When you stand straight and tall, it’s easier to run or cycle faster, and it helps with proper lifting. Additionally, having good posture ensures that your muscles are being worked properly, which lowers the risk of injury. Marathoners, triathletes and even weekend warriors should aim for good posture during both exercise and rest.
It’s easy to give into poor posture at work, especially if you sit at a computer all day. This encourages your shoulders to round forward and your back to hunch. Not only can this become an uncomfortable position, but it can be painful as well because it causes your chest muscles to tighten and your upper back muscles to weaken.
How can you correct poor posture?
Even though poor posture is a common problem, it’s easy to fix.
As part of athletic recovery, you want to make sure to stretch out both your chest and back muscles in addition to your legs and arms. Shoulder rolls to the front and back are excellent options – shrugging your shoulders up to your ears, then rotating forward and then backward.
You can also begin to consciously think of your posture and make alterations in how you sit and stand. When you’re on your feet, consider:
- Shoulders should be back but relaxed
- Feet should be about hip-distance apart
- Weight should be evenly distributed between both feet
- Abdominal muscles should be engaged
When you sit, keep in mind:
- Both feet should be flat on the floor
- Knees should be level with hips
- Upper back and neck should be straight but comfortable
- You should sit back in the chair, and make sure it supports your low back curve
- Keep shoulders back and relaxed
Give yourself a massage for better posture
Another great way to correct and improve your posture is through self massage. With a portable massager, you can help fix muscle imbalances and loosen up knots, so it’s easier to sit or strand straight.
Before your massage, you want to check in to see what’s going on with your body. Do a mental scan to recognize any spots of tension, tightness or pain. That way, you’ll know what part of your back needs more attention. Also be sure to check your shoulders to see if they round forward or if one is higher than the other.
You might want to use a combination of relaxation and deep tissue massage to soothe tight muscles and loosen up knots in more tense areas. Include a combination of lighter rolls up and down muscles as well as focusing more pressure on specific spots.
Using these techniques will loosen up your muscles so it’s easier to hold a proper posture positions, and it will help take unnecessary pressure off of your joints, so it’s less painful to stand or sit up tall. Not only will this make you feel better about how you look, but it will also improve your athletic performance because your body will feel better. Once you’re more conscious of your posture, you’ll be able to make corrections when you notice you’re not in proper form, and you can continue to provide yourself with massages to make carrying yourself with good posture comfortable.