Have you ever taken notice of your own posture or the posture of those you meet?
This might sound strange to you but posture is the first thing I notice about a person.
Kind of like a Dentist who probably notices someone’s teeth right away or a hair dresser that notices your hair first. I notice if you are slouching, leaning to one side or standing up tall.
You may not think about it as often as I do, but take a day to notice each and everyone’s posture you come into contact with. Notice the energy, confidence and attitude the person exudes. Matter of fact, take a good look in the mirror and evaluate how your posture is looking.
Posture is the ultimate BODY language! Even if you are the most confident and energetic person, walking into a room with forward rolled shoulders and a forward head, effects how others perceive you and the first impression you make. They might think you are a bit tired, weak, or unenthusiastic which couldn’t be further from the truth!
Standing up tall with the chest open and head straight will enhance the energy and confidence you wish to convey. A simple awareness of your posture could completely change the impression you make. Not to mention the overall health of your skeletal and muscular system (which I’ll talk about in a minute).
Don’t allow your posture to take away what is authentically YOU!
I attended a 3 day conference a few years ago on how to be an effective and powerful presenter. A woman specializing in body language spent 4 hours teaching us the impact our posture has on our audience. She demonstrated by having different students stand up to present, then made small adjustments to enhance their posture and the difference in their presence was massive!
It’s also about preventing physical damage to the body that comes from years of neglecting proper skeletal alignment.
It starts from the time we are kids.
Did your mother ever tell you to “stand up straight”? I bet she did.
As we grow up, our lifestyle habits and activities dictate our postural alignment even more. Especially habits and activities that take up the majority of our day.
Think about it?
Did you grow up playing video games or riding bikes?
Did you get a desk job that requires 6-8 hours on a computer each day or did you become a personal trainer who is on your feet all day?
Do you come home after work and watch TV on the couch or do you hit the gym first?
The way we spend our days makes a huge impact on our physical alignment. Even the small physical recovery habits we have can make or break our posture and alignment.
Do you add flexibility and/or yoga into your fitness routine or just weight lifting?
Have you ever used a foam roller?
Do you get massages?
Listen, poor posture doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow, progressive thing that goes unnoticed until it’s so bad that it causes pain, weakness and sometimes disease that can no longer be ignored.
So many people walk around with a hunched back, shoulders rolled forward and have absolutely ZERO awareness of this for years!
If they are aware of it, they say, “I have terrible posture, I know”. Yet nothing comes after that sentence! I sit and wait for it, but nothing.
An acceptance for terrible posture is ok with some people?
What about you? Will you wait until you have chronic low back pain, degenerative disc disease, hunchback, or joint point to start working on your alignment?
It’s almost like being a smoker. Most smokers will smoke for years and neglect the damage they are causing the body. They won’t quit until they have a serious medical condition that requires them to stop..and by then, it’s almost too late to reverse the damage.
Let’s be more aware of our posture and start caring about our alignment before it’s too late.
Especially since their are very easy methods to improve our posture, avoid pain and stand tall and confident.
The first and most common reason we lose good posture is due to tight muscles. Activities we repeatedly do will cause our muscles to tighten, such as sitting at a desk. If we never stretch those muscles, they get tighter and tighter and begin to pull the skeleton into improper alignment.
To keep things very simple, I’ll name a few primary muscle groups that are responsible for poor posture and offer some very easy strategies to maintain or improve proper alignment.
IMPORTANT: Pay extra attention and perform daily stretches for the chest, shoulders, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes and piriformis.
Chronic tightness of these muscles will hurt your posture, cause joint pain and much more.
I’ve created some easy stretch routines to guide you through some essential recovery and flexibility exercises that should help you get started.
Post Workout Stretch Routine: Awesome to lengthen muscles after a workout.
Active Stretches for the Morning: Do this one first thing in the morning to get the day going and blood flowing!
Amazing Assistive Towel Stretch Routine: Great to relax and get a great assistive stretch for extra elongation of the muscles.
In addition to stretching, there are a few other great strategies to improve or maintain good posture!
- Foam Rolling- This provides the muscles with a much different benefit than stretching. Foam rolling is much like giving yourself a massage. It’s putting pressure on a muscle to release tightness of the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles. Each one of our muscles is wrapped by connective tissue called Fascia. Fascia requires pressure to release tightness, whereas stretching does not offer the same effect.
Therefore we can stretch everyday to elongate our muscles to improve flexibility and tightness but releasing pressure and tightness of our Fascia will increase our flexibility more quickly and effectively.
You can search different foam rolling techniques on Youtube. I’ve shared a few essential moves in the first 5 minutes of this 30 minute workout:
- Deep Tissue Massage – Massage is an amazing way to loosen muscle tightness and bring new blood flow to the muscles. Foam Rolling and Massage provide the same benefits. However, massage therapists can reach areas of the body a foam roller cannot. I consider a deep tissue massage essential to physical health, not a luxury. Just like I consider vegetables essential to my physical health and not a luxury.
Your body is your daily machine. It gets you to work, runs all day so that you can breathe, eat, and think. Then it works extra hard to exercise, elevate the heart rate, burn calories, and use muscle. This machine that helps you live and thrive each day needs care.
- Strength Training– strengthening the muscles is an excellent way to improve posture, especially the muscles of the backside. It’s so important to create balance of our anterior and posterior muscle groups. I see women work on their push ups, yet rarely work on their pulling exercises. Having great posture comes from strengthening both the chest and back for example.
Here are some great back stretches and exercises for good alignment. Add this to your weekly exercise routine.
I hope this article has inspired you to look more closely at your posture and take more initiative to maintain proper alignment. Not only will you look stronger and more confident as a person, you will live a more active, pain free lifestyle.
- Evaluate your posture in the mirror today.
- Be observant of others posture and how you perceive them.
- Commit to stretching at least 3-4 major muscle groups each day.
- Commit to foam rolling at least 1x per week.
- Leave a comment below if you need help understanding how to improve your posture if you are unsure.
- Keep Being Awesome!
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