Good posture is amazing. It’s not only good for your spinal health, it radiates confidence and ease and makes you look leaner and younger! If you have a desk job, sitting in a chair for 8 hours leaves almost everyone slumping by 5 pm. Then you’re expected to stand elegantly at after-work drinks or saunter casually home via the high street. It’s not fair. But you can have good posture in just one week using 4 simple posture techniques.
DRAW YOUR CHIN BACK
A pointed chin brings your neck forward, pulling on the muscles of the neck and shoulders. To compensate for the forward weight shift, your upper back slouches into a kyphosis when you sit. When you’re standing, the effects travel down to your pelvis, and your lower back sways to counterbalance the forward weight shift in your head.
- Sit or stand tall with your hands together as though you’re praying.
- Let your fingertips lightly touch the bottom of your chin
- Without lifting your chin off your fingertips, draw your chin back into yourself as though you’re making a double chin.
- Relax a little (because that’s not a good look) and find a point where you’re about to make a double chin but are just a millimetre off- that’s where you want your neck to be.
DRAW YOUR SHOULDER BLADES DOWN & BACK
The old ‘shoulders back’ mantra doesn’t work – so focus on drawing your shoulder blades gently down and back. The muscles that do this are slow twitch, meaning you only need to slowly and gently activate them, not pull them quickly like you would for a bicep curl.
- Sitting or standing, gently imagine you’re gripping an orange between your shoulder blades in the middle of your back – this is where you want your shoulder blades to sit.
- This movement is the same as the end of an upright row you might do at the gym
*If you get a burning pain in your mid back at work, try drawing your shoulder blades down and back, hold for 5 seconds, and relax. Repeat this 10 times every time you check your Instagram and your postural muscles will get stronger and your pain will disappear!
LOWER YOUR RIBS
Puffing up your rib cage puts pressure on your mid back where your ribs join your spine, plus it looks pretty awkward. By lowering the rib cage flush against your tummy, your spine will be in a better position, and you’ll be sitting or standing taller.
- Sitting or standing, place your hand on your ribs, just underneath the underwire of your bra
- Add gentle pressure through your palm and feel your rib cage gently soften into your torso – this is the ideal position for your ribcage
TUCK YOUR TAILBONE
We’re all guilty of letting our back sway when we sit or stand, but this position can lead to lower back pain. When you gently tuck your tailbone under by using your deep abdominals, your spine sits in a nice, neutral position without stressing your lower back vertebrae and nerves.
- Sitting or standing tall, place one hand in the small of your back and one hand on your lower abs
- Now imagine a skewer through your pelvis – you’re going to rotate around the skewer
- Gently push with both hands, feel your lower abs tighten, and the sway in your back diminish
Common Questions about Posture…
Should I sit on a swiss ball at my desk?
You can, but you can still have poor posture on these balls. Plus, when you’re tired there’s no support for your spine. If you really want to use one, I suggest alternating between a good, supportive desk chair and a fit ball every hour or two. Ditch the swiss ball around the 3 pm slump.
Are heels bad for my posture?
Yes, it’s not recommended you wear them for prolonged periods of time. They can increase the sway in your lower back putting pressure on your spine if your core isn’t strong enough. If you can hold position 4 of the posture tips, you should be fine if you’re just wearing them for a short period of time.
How should I sit at my desk?
A good desk chair is designed to support your spine. Sit with your bottom all the way back in the chair, sit up tall so your entire spine is resting on the backrest, and push your chair in all the way under your desk until you’re comfortable. Sitting forward in a chair, or far away from your desk encourages bad posture and leads to back pain.
What’s the best workout to improve my posture?
Pilates will definitely help improve your strength and posture. If you’re not already a convert, read about the benefits of Pilates! Classes tend to emphasise good spinal stability and elongating the spine, so you’ll be standing taller in no time.
“A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.” – Morihei Ueshiba