When it comes to health and well-being there has never before been so much information available out there. Whether you want to know about the latest miracle diet plans or exercise fads all you have to do is click and there it all is. The internet is awash with top tips and advice on absolutely everything you can think of.
However there is one thing which most of us tend to ignore in the rush to better health and that is – posture. The way you sit and stand, whether whilst relaxing or exercising, can make all the difference to how you feel because the fact is that bad posture can affect you more than you can imagine. It can cause neck and back pain as well as headaches and ultimately can worsen depression.
So then, here are a few ideas on what you can do to break the slouch habit.
Do what catwalk models do
It may seem old-fashioned but there is a reason why fashion models in previous decades were told to stand up straight. Standing tall with shoulders back, stomach in and head held high was de-rigueur and catwalk models would practise walking with a book balanced on top of the head. This would ensure a perfectly straight, elegant posture that would elongate the neck, lift the ribcage and make the clothes look good. More importantly though, standing tall strengthens the core muscles of the abdomen and back and helps you to breathe more easily.
Think about the image you project
Imagine that two people are standing in front of you. One of them is standing tall and straight and the other is slouching. What image is each of them projecting? I’m pretty sure you’ll be thinking that the sloucher is less caring of what other people think of them; or that they can’t be bothered to make the best of themselves. There have in recent years been numerous studies into the effect of posture on mental health and these have shown that the way you hold yourself reflects how you feel inside. This is because when you sit or stand straight you project an image of good health and self-confidence. Perhaps it’s because you are breathing deeper and better; slouching can suppress breathing and compromise blood flow. It goes without saying then that the opposite applies when you adopt a straighter posture.
How to improve your posture
Slouching is a bad habit that few of us can afford to adopt so here is advice on how you can avoid this to become healthier.
- When sitting try to adopt an ergonomic posture. If working at a desk your forearms should be on a level with it and your knees should be below hip-level. Tilt your pelvis forward to create a natural ‘S’ shape in the back.
- When standing imagine an invisible thread is pulling you straight upwards.
- At all times, pull in your stomach muscles as this will help to expand your chest and help you to breathe properly.
Remember – good posture equals good mood equals better health.