Dr. Kristen Mitteness
Perfecting Your Posture (VIDEO)
You’ve probably noticed two types of people at some point in your life. One, where you think, “Wow, that person is standing so tall and proud. What great posture he/she has.” And on the other end of the spectrum, you see something and think, “Holy smokes, stand up taller! That can’t be good for your neck.” No? Just me?
I see patients on a regular basis who say to me, “I need to improve my posture.” If that thought has even flashed in your mind once, the answer is probably, “Yes, you do.” Living our more sedentary lives, we slowly find ourselves slouching forward, head dropping, shoulders slumping. The further away from normal you move, the more force gravity has to pull you. It will only get worse unless you take actions to making it better.
Maintaining proper posture allows your joints, ligaments and muscles to align appropriately. This allows for minimal stress on the body and the ability to properly adapt to any outside stressors you may encounter. With proper alignment, nerves can freely flow to where they need to and your body can function and respond to your surroundings. This leads to less pain, too.
Standing up straight takes some training to undo the hours upon hours of poor posture. Your muscles may be sore and tired. That’s okay. Start slowly with these steps.
Place your feet directly under your lungs. Toes are pointing straight ahead of you.
Rotate your knees outward slightly. This will lift the arch of your foot and align your knee above your ankle. It will also help to engage your legs, butt and core.
Slightly tuck your pelvis and butt under you. Don’t let your stomach hang forward or your low back over arch. Engage your core slightly.
Tuck your chin down (give yourself a “double chin”) as you lift the back of your head toward the sky. Your gaze should be on the ground about 10 feet in front of you.
Turn the palms of your hands forward and pull your shoulder blades down and back.
Hold this position for 5 deep breaths.
Repeat all of the time!
Retraining these muscle patterns will result in some muscle soreness, so don’t overdo it at first. Take frequent breaks from prolonged sitting to do it and whenever else you are standing around and find yourself with poor posture. Pretty soon, you’ll be standing taller and feeling prouder!