Don’t slouch! That’s a tip we may have given or received many times in our life. Turns, out, it’s pretty good advice. Having good posture leads to better balance, reduces injury, and helps you exude confidence.
Building and maintaining good posture is a continual act of intention. Posture can be positively affected by actively working the muscles in the trunk section of the body (the core) as well as being mindful of body alignment while standing, sitting, or lying down. Good posture leads to the correct alignment of body parts and ultimate support by muscle tension against gravity.
Your core muscles wrap around your spine making it easier to maintain posture. Weak core muscles encourage slumping, which tips your body forward and throws you off balance. Proper posture is essential to balance: stand up straight, and you center your weight over your feet.
What is defined as Good Posture?
According to Harvard Medical School, good posture is defined as:
- chin parallel to the floor
- shoulders even (roll your shoulders up, back, and down to help achieve this)
- neutral spine (no flexing or arching to overemphasize the curve in your lower back)
- arms at your sides with elbows straight and even
- abdominal muscles braced
- hips even
- knees even and pointing straight ahead
- body weight distributed evenly on both feet.
When sitting down, keep your chin parallel to the floor; your shoulders, hips, and knees at even heights; and your knees and feet pointing straight ahead.
There are many health benefits to having a strong core. Regardless of your fitness ability, it’s important to make sure you always include movements that work your midsection (front, back, and sides.)
Try these exercises:
V up: Lay on your back, with arms overhead. Lift your legs and arms up simultaneously to form a “V” with your body. Return to the floor and repeat.
Scissors: Lay on your back with your feet in the air above your pelvis. Slowly lower your feet toward the floor, crisscrossing them on the way down. Return back in the same motion. Vary the count down to increase work and interest.
Plank Hold: Hold your body over the ground with your feet under your ankles, hands under your shoulders, and your face looking straight toward the floor. Body aligned from head to toe, and hips and shoulders squared. Try to increase the amount of time you hold a plank. Start with 10 seconds, and work your way up to 60-second sessions (or longer!)
Plank tap out: Hold your body over the ground with your feet under your ankles, hands under your shoulders, and your face looking straight toward the floor. Body aligned from head to toe, and hips and shoulders squared. Tap a foot out to one side while maintaining the hold. Alternate feet in the toe taps. Add in alternating hand taps for variation.