Before you read any further I want you to quickly assess your current posture:
- Are you sitting at your desk, hunched over the keyboard?
- Are you reading this article on your phone and slouching (either whilst sitting or standing)?
- Are you sitting back in your chair diagonally, about half way down the seat with your shoulder blades close to the top of the back rest?
If you answered ‘YES’ to any of those… you have bad posture right now!
Don’t feel too bad. It may surprise you but a majority of people around you right now are probably sitting or standing with bad posture too. Does this mean that because everyone is sitting with bad posture you should too? Of course not. By becoming aware of our bad posture habits we can take the necessary corrective measures to ensure we don’t fall into them again.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR POSTURE?
Standing tall with great posture says a lot about you and plays a major role in how you are perceived.
The absolute number 1 reason why you must develop good posture is…
Posture is so finely tied to status and confidence that improving your posture will improve not only the impression you give off, but also how confident you feel. Try it and see for yourself if you don’t believe me. Go stand in front of a mirror, take a deep breath and stand straight. Then slump over with poor posture. Repeat this a few times. Notice the difference?
I see this too many times on a daily basis – a person standing in the elevator or waiting in line and slouching forward (sometimes staring into their phone). For me this just screams a lack of confidence. It’s almost as if the person is subconsciously afraid to open up / expose their front and stand tall. This looks even worse if you are tall. Sometimes you will have to slouch to avoid hitting your head on low hanging objects or doorways (welcome to the world of being tall). It’s easy for this to become the norm – don’t let it happen… if you do you will start standing with rounded shoulders and eventually you will develop bad posture.
If a boost in confidence isn’t enough of a reason for you to realise the importance of good posture, take a look at the info-graphic below for some more reasons – click image for larger view.
WHAT IS GOOD POSTURE?
For starters, good posture does not mean you have to stand stiff and rigid, looking like a plank of wood. Good posture involves having a relaxed appearance and a neutral spine. A neutral spine retains three natural curves: a small hollow at the base of the neck, a small roundness at the middle back, and a small hollow in the lower back. When your posture is correct, your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should align in one straight line. If you were to hang a piece of string from your earlobe with a weight at the bottom the string will hang straight to the middle of your anklebone.
If you still can’t quite picture what good posture should look like, try the wall test:
Stand with your head, shoulders, and back against a wall and position your heels about 15 cm in front of the wall. Pull in your lower abdominal muscles, decreasing the arch in your lower back. Push away from the wall and try to maintain this upright, vertical alignment.
That’s good posture.
Maintaining good posture is definitely not easy. There will be times when you will be busy or distracted and you’ll simply forget and start to slouch. The most important thing is to try and be conscience of your posture as often as you can so that you pick up on the fact when you slouch. At first this might seem like a big effort but I promise that after a while of forcing yourself to try and maintain good posture your body will automatically begin to do it.
Don’t be like the many people around you slouching and looking closed off to the world.
Stand tall and be proud.