Posture defines how your skeleton and muscles hold you upright. Your mother probably always told you to sit up straight and never slouch. She was right in that these can have detrimental effects on your health and well-being. Poor posture can cause a variety of problems from muscular and soft tissue injury to pain and discomfort. There are many things that you can do to improve your posture and your athletic performance. It is important to understand why posture is so important and what you can do to correct your posture right now.
How to Improve Your Posture
A strong core is the foundation of proper posture. If your abdominal and back muscles are weak and poorly conditioned, they will have difficulty holding you into an erect and straight position. The muscles in this area will stabilize you, allow you to move with proper mechanics, and help you to maintain a neutral and natural position. Exercise options like Pilates and calisthenics can help you to strengthen and stabilize these muscles.
Yoga is very popular for building strength and flexibility and both of these are hallmarks for good posture. You will want to learn yoga from an experienced instructor so that you can be sure that you are doing each pose correctly. Posture is important in yoga and not practicing proper pose posture can put you at risk for injury. Yoga can target your entire core and it can also help to boost your mood, refresh your mind, and give you a burst of energy, according to Prevention.
You want to stretch regularly to improve your posture. As you are stretching, pay close attention to your body mechanics and do not push yourself into pain. You want to stretch throughout the day to maintain limber muscles. For example, when you are at work, do a few desk exercises every couple of hours to prevent tight and sore muscles. When you keep your muscles loose and flexible, you can maintain a more natural posture.
You also want to simply practice good posture. Sit up straight, keep your spine in alignment, and never hunch over. You also want to bring your shoulders back and make sure that your feet are firmly on the floor.
Benefits of Improving Your Posture
Improved posture can help you with many different things, such as improved sports performance, less muscular pain, and improved confidence. One major benefit of good posture is improving your athletic performance. When your body is functioning properly, you will notice that your muscles do not fatigue as easily. Proper posture is also critical when it comes to preventing muscular and bone injury. If you are using poor posture, your body is having pressure applied to it in all of the wrong places and this can lead to fatigue, less endurance, and injury.
When you practice proper posture, you will be able to breathe easier and this helps to maintain energy levels and it helps you to maintain your endurance. You will find that you are getting more air and feeling less stressed. Sitting up straight also helps when it comes to improving your image, increasing your thinking ability, and heightening your concentration, according to Personal Excellence.
Why Poor Posture is a Problem
If you are not practicing good posture, it can have a negative impact on your health. Those already experiencing depression may notice that they feel worse when they are slouching or hunching over. In fact, standing up straight and facing the world strong can actually improve the mood.
Back pain is very common among those who do not practice proper posture. When you are not sitting and standing up straight, you can experience muscle strain in any area of your back. The upper back, shoulders, and lower back muscles are most commonly affected.
Your circulation is not as good when you are not using proper posture. You need to make sure that there is no unnecessary pressure on any area of your body. If you are experiencing decreased circulation, you will notice parts of your body feeling numb and tingly until you readjust your position.
When you are not standing up straight, you appear to be shorter and heavier than you are. If you pull your shoulders back and tuck in your abdominal muscles, you will feel better and will look better too.
Guest post contributed by the editors at Gym Junkies. Gym Junkies provides health and fitness information to achieve optimal strength and peak performance.