“Unless some misfortune has made it impossible, everyone can have good posture.” Loretta Young
But what is good posture? As a chiropractor, this is a question I am asked daily. I have parents ask me to talk to their children about good posture. We have been told that good posture is when we are standing straight and our shoulders are pulled back. However, it is more than that. Draw a line from the tip of your ears through your shoulders, through your hips, your knees and your ankles. What does this line look like? Is it straight or does it curve? This line should be straight.
Posture begins in your pelvis. Your hips should be tucked under, which is easily accomplished if you think about sucking your belly button up to your rib cage. Then lift your chest as if you were to take a deep breath in and roll your shoulders back but keep them relaxed. Now, pull your chin back in to get your ears over your shoulders. If you do all of this, you will get that straight line.
Posture can be improved with daily exercises and stretches. There are many different exercises on the internet you can look at, but here are my top three favoite:
1) Planks to improve our core muscles.
2) Neck retraction to help move our ears back over our shoulders. Sit down and look straight forward. Move your head back slightly while keeping your eyes level. Then return to neutral.
3) Door way stretches to stretch our chest muscles and to help keep our shoulders back. To do this, stand in the middle of a doorway with your arms up and elbows bent at 90 degrees, like a goal post. Gently lean forward until you feel a stretch across your chest and through your upper back.
There are many benefits of having good posture besides just looking nice when you stand up straight. It can improve digestion and breathing because you are making more room in the abdominal cavity. It can decrease back and neck problems and reduce headaches. It can convey how you are feeling or help improve your confidence.
Take a look at yourself sideways in the mirror. How does your posture look? Start today to improve your posture by working on some of those stretches and exercises. One step at a time will make an improvement each and every day!