Identify good posture. Good posture is nothing more than keeping your body in alignment. What good posture looks like when a person is standing : a straight back, squared shoulders, chin up, chest out, stomach in. If you can draw a straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee, to the middle of your ankle—–you’ve got it.
Train your muscles to do the work. Exercises that strengthen the muscles across your upper back and shoulders will help you to maintain good posture. You don’t need to develop a body builder physique—–it’s more important to build “muscle memory” so that you unconsciously and naturally maintain correct posture without fatigue.
Be a penguin. While you wait for a web page to load or the bread to toast, place your elbows at your side, and touch your shoulders with your hands. Keeping your hands on your shoulders and your ears aligned, raise both elbows (count one, two) and lower them back down (count one, two). Do as many reps as your wait allows. You’ll be surprised how much exercise fits into 30 seconds.
Do stretches. This can greatly help if you find that you have a sore back or neck. It’s also good to do during the day, if your job requires you to sit for long periods.
Practice yoga. Yoga is excellent for posture, and for your health in general. It can also improve your balance. Yoga works your core muscles, making them stronger and helping you to keep a proper body alignment.
Find your center. Proper standing posture is about alignment and balance. It also lends an air of confidence. Here are some tips for achieving the correct upright posture:
- Place your feet about shoulder width apart, the same stance you would use for working out or many other physical activities.
- Stand up straight. This is, of course, the key to good standing posture, and bears repeating. As you develop good posture habits, this will become second nature.
- Keep your weight on the balls of your feet. When you rest on your heels, your natural tendency will be to slouch. Instead, stand up, and make an effort to stand on the balls of your feet. Notice how the rest of your body follows. Now rock back so that your weight is on your heels. Notice the way your entire body shifts into a “slouchy” posture with this single motion.
- Keep your shoulders squared. It may feel unnatural at first, if you have not developed good posture habits. Like standing up straight, however, this will become second nature.
- Pull your head back and up. Picture yourself reaching for the ceiling with the top of your head. Keep your head square on top of the neck and spine as you do this. Not only will this improve your posture, you will look taller and leaner, too. Try it!
Teach your body what it feels like. Stand with your back against a door or wall, with the back of your head, your shoulders, and your butt just touching it. If it feels awkward and uncomfortable, don’t worry—–as you develop good posture habits and train your body, it will feel uncomfortable to not stand this way.
Start with good standing posture. Walking with good posture is simply an extension of standing with good posture. Keep your head up, shoulders back, chest out, and eyes looking straight ahead. Avoid pushing your head forward.
Stay in shape. To keep your entire musculoskeletal system in tune to support your posture, it’s important to keep yourself in shape. Try these tips:
- Lie on your back, with your legs bent to about 90 degrees at the knee, and your feet on the floor.
- Pull your belly-button towards your spine and holding it at the end. This is a different type of contraction than crunches (crunches feel like they are more at the front of your stomach, while this feels like it is more inwards and towards your back).
- Hold for ten seconds, repeat eight times. Repeat it daily.
- Maintain the proper posture even if you are getting tired and are not using other muscles like your back or butt muscles.
- Breathe normally during this exercise, as you are training your core to be able to maintain this position during normal activities in daily life.