When it comes to posture, mine has always been less than perfect. It’s something my mom never fails to point out, although she’s not nearly as much of a stickler as her mother was. Inspired by the grandmother I never met, I challenged myself to spend a week focused on improving my posture. At my desk during work, strolling around town on the weekend, even sitting down to a dinner of leftovers with my roommates, I made a note of my body’s alignment through it all. The first thing I noticed? My posture was so much worse than I thought. But I also learned a few tricks that made the road to recovery fairly simple. And what’s more, I discovered that improving my posture helped me improve my overall well-being – in more ways than one! First I’ll share my tips for maintaining perfect posture, then I’ll tell you about the incredible benefits I discovered in just one week.
My first tip: Dress up. Switch up your weekly wardrobe and add in a structured top or tailored dress a couple times a week. A more fitted ensemble made me much more conscious of how I held my body throughout the day. Needless to say, I was much more inspired to improve my posture in a structured sundress than my go-to striped tee and boyfriend jeans!
Next up: Wear a heel. Even a low one. That extra bit of height naturally works to bring out a more aligned posture. I love these deceptively cozy booties from TOMS, for all the posture benefits and none of the blisters!
And if all else fails… take after my grandmother and do a quick posture check. Draw your shoulder blades back, as close together as you can, and then elongate your spine. (Hint: Focus on pulling your shoulders down and back, while keeping your head drawn up.) This is a quick and simple fix to adjust your posture throughout the day, and realign your muscles. Practice this enough, and you just might start to see a few benefits to your health, attitude, and general well-being…
After a week spent listening to my muscles and improving my powerfully mediocre posture, I began to notice a couple other positive changes. The first benefit is one of the most commonly known, but my favorite side-effect, nonetheless. Good posture projects confidence. Standing up taller gives a powerful impression by making your body look taller, slimmer, and more assured. The result is the perfect boost of confidence you might need to take on the day!
Next benefit? A strengthened core. Um, who would turn down that benefit? Now I’m not promising instantly sculpted abs within the week, but physical training research does teach that sitting up straight works to strengthen your abdominal and back muscles. (A day of good posture is proven to burn up to 350 extra calories!)
Plus… An instant energy boost. One study from San Francisco State found that good posture can have a dramatic impact on your attitude. Researchers found that when you slouch, your body takes in as much as 30% less oxygen than you’d take in with good posture. By aligning your muscles correctly, you open up certain pathways that increase happiness and energy. The lesson here? Improving your posture could give you as much of an energy boost as that second cup of coffee!
It’s amazing what such a simple adjustment can do to improve one’s well-being. And though the child in me often tried to stubbornly fight against my mother’s advice, I was blown away by the effect my posture made in just one week. (I’m sure my grandmother would be proud.) We’ll see how good I am at keeping it up…
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