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How to Make Good Posture a Habit

Sometimes life simply weighs you down, literally, and your posture can be an indicator of your current mental, emotional and physical being.

“Posture can say a lot about a person, temporary poor posture can mean someone is insecure or depressed, ongoing poor posture can mean that someone is overworked or lacks body awareness,” said Alison Roessler, a strength and conditioning specialist.

Someone who has good posture owns a room with confidence and walks with intention and purpose. Posture represents pride and effort. When you display good posture you are investing in your physical health and overall appearance. Good posture is assertive and demands respect.

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Good posture is displayed when someone has their shoulders rolled back, chest and head held high, and rib cage, hips, and knees all aligned. While bad posture can be seen when one has his or her hips shifted forward, rounded shoulders and slumped, back hunched. Signs of poor posture are hips that are shifted forward, shoulders that round forward, rounding of the upper back, no engagement of the abs, and tight hamstrings.

“Posture has a lot to do with first impressions. A body that is hunched forward may not read as confident, while a rigid body may be read as cold or superior to others. Your posture has a lot to do with the energy you send out into a room that others will pick up on. If you can move, stand and speak with ease, others will be at ease and be more likely to listen and accept whatever it is you are telling them,” said Jessica Doyle,  professor and vocal coach, two occupations in which good posture makes a significant difference.

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Poor posture stems from a lack of physical or mental motivation or ingrained unhealthy habits. “Work and repetitive stress habits are a huge contributor to poor posture. Another culprit is muscle atrophy from underused areas due to our school/workday structure. Our bodies were not designed for sitting at a desk and it can take a massive toll on your posture,” said Jessica York, Owner, and Operator of Breathe: Bodywork and Beautification.

Poor posture can occur subconsciously. We are often so comfortable slouching that we don’t even catch ourselves doing it. Actively catch yourself in the act of resorting to that position and correct it to establish healthier habits. You can create damage over time from our daily mundane tasks such as how we sleep, what our hobbies are, how much we sit, etc.

“Poor posture is a learned behavior which is good news because it can be corrected. There are a variety of modalities that can help you improve your posture from Pilates to foam rolling to personal training, anyone can have great posture if they are willing to do the release work to liberate tight muscles and the strengthening work to help muscles get back in alignment,” said Roessler.

Posture is largely habitual. If you are instilled with the habit of good posture it will come naturally. But, if you have trained yourself over time to constantly remain slumped over, you’ll have to actively unlearn this habit. Reinforce good posture before it becomes irreversible.

Remember to check in with yourself daily. While you are sitting at a table or standing in line, make a note of how you are physically and what you are conveying to the world through your stance. Take inventory of your limbs, do they align properly? Think about how you are standing and then how a leader or a well-respected person you know would stand. A great way to determine if you are standing tall is to have someone take a photo of you. Analyze where exactly you are unaligned and self-correct. Look in the mirror and see how the person staring back at you is presenting themselves. Are your shoulders curving forward? Is your head high? Is this how you want to enter a room?

Posture is your silent way of communicating with yourself and those around you. Take pride in how you carry yourself. Prioritize your posture. Be aware of your body and the message it is conveying to the world.

Written by Lorraine J.
Photo by Arina Krasnikova from Pexels

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