As a classy co-ed, it goes without saying that you want to appear composed, poised and confident. You work hard to achieve that image, and bad posture can instantly spoil it. Posture conveys to others how we feel about ourselves; the term slouch quite literally refers to an incompetent, indifferent person. In addition to supporting a classy image, good posture improves breathing, circulation and digestion. It also can prevent back and neck pain, and can even increase energy as a result of muscles being used correctly instead of constantly strained. Finally, good posture can help you appear taller and thinner. Don’t let your good diet and exercise habits go to waste.
Before correcting your posture, it’s important to know how to identify bad posture in the first place. If the following signs, taken from Spine-Health, sound all-to-familiar, the first step to better posture is becoming aware of and correcting these bad habits.
- Slouching with your shoulders hunched forward
- Carrying something heavy on one side of your body
- Holding your cell phone between the neck and shoulder
- Wearing high-heeled shoes frequently
- Holding your head too high or looking down too often
- Sleeping with a mattress or pillow that doesn’t provide proper back support
Guilty? Me too. Luckily bad posture is a bad habit that, like any other, can be broken with enough determination. Start by working on awareness of your posture throughout the day and then try these three tips to consciously improve it.
The Imaginary Vertical Line- Imagine a line running vertically through your ears, shoulders and hips. When you’re standing or sitting, keep this vertical line completely straight. When you have to bend over, don’t fold at the waist; bend your knees and keep your spine straight in all situations. Not enough of an imagination challenge? Add a balloon on a string extending from the top of your head pulling you toward the ceiling.
Get Moving- Your muscles tire of being in the same position, which causes you to slouch down. If you have to sit for long periods of time to work or study, try to get up and walk around every half hour (never too many excuses for a study break).
Yoga- This one is for the multitasker in all of us. With yoga you can de-stress, stay fit and strengthen the muscles that support your spine. Yoga improves the flexibility of your spine and shoulders and even enhances body awareness, training you to become more conscious of your posture.
These tips should straighten your spine in no time. Luckily, improving your posture will get easier as you become more aware, strengthen necessary muscles and replace the bad habits with good ones. And remember: stay confident! It works both ways; posture affects confidence and confidence affects posture. Both are habits that can, and should, be learned.