Improve your posture: Celebrity secrets
Want to know the celebrity secret to looking glamorous on and off camera? It's posture, says Hollywood physical therapist Dr Paul Drew, specifically a red carpet posture. Not all celebrities stand tall -- Katie Holmes, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kirsten Dunst and Mischa Barton are world-class slouchers -- but actresses Salma Hayek, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Halle Berry stand straight and naturally radiate beauty, grace and confidence. You, too, can have a star-caliber stance. Here are Dr Drew's A-list tips for improving your posture.
Your posture is an expression of yourself
Your posture and the way you sit, stand and move are physical expressions of who you are. Healthy postures indicate vitality and confidence, while slouching postures send the message you are tired or have low self-esteem. Says Dr Drew, author of Red Carpet Posture, "Posture is expressed by your body from head to toe. It is the alignment of your head, body, spine, shoulders, hips and feet all in relation to one another. Your posture is a statement of who you are, and it is important to have good posture to express to others and yourself that you are confident and to be respected."
What is a red-carpet posture?
According to Dr Drew, who is concerned that people will emulate those rounded-shoulder A-list idols, a red carpet posture means standing tall, not short and slouched, with your shoulders back (not rolled forward) and your stomach up and in, and not allowing yourself to stand flat footed. "It's presenting yourself as if you are always on the red carpet," the celebrity health and fitness expert says.
Achieving that glamorous posture is a matter of being conscious of how you are holding your body, making adjustments to stand tall and properly aligned, and reinforcing this postural stance with core work, strength-training exercises and stretching.
Quick tips to improve posture
Changing your posture will feel unnatural initially, but with practice, can make a red carpet posture part of your normal way of sitting, standing and moving. Dr Drew recommends the following:
1. Hold your shoulder blades back. Keep your shoulders and shoulder blades down and back, towards each other. Pretend that you have an orange between your shoulder blades and you are trying to squeeze it to make orange juice.
2. Bring your head over your shoulders. When you move your shoulder blades back, your head will naturally align with the shoulders. "This is the same advice that I gave to Jeanie Buss of the LA Lakers [who is also featured in my new book], to help her reduce the incidence of tension headaches," says Dr Drew.
3. Pull your belly button back towards your spine. Pretend that something is grabbing your belly button and pulling it in and up the spine. This will help to give the appearance of a flatter tummy. "When I worked with Madonna years ago on tour, this is the advice that I gave her to help reduce her lower back discomfort during her performances," adds Dr Drew.
4. Work on balance. Exercises using the balance ball are perfect for stimulating the abdominal or core muscles to help improve posture. Balance ball exercises (illustrated in Red Carpet Posture) include crunches, leg and arm extensions, planks, back extensions, wall squats and a variety of other moves that challenge the entire body. Dr Drew says, "Any exercises that encourage you to use balance will help stimulate muscles that aid in posture."
5. Be consistent. Being conscious about your alignment and making corrective adjustments throughout the day will improve your posture even if you don't have time for exercise. Consistent strength and flexibility training, however, will more effectively give you an A-list stance. Dr Drew explains, "If one can do exercises to improve posture for just 20 minutes, twice a week, it can make all the difference. The exercises don't need to be strenuous; they can be performed as one or two sets of 15 comfortable reps each."
Benefits of a properly aligned posture
Besides improving your appearance, a healthy posture provides other benefits. A properly aligned posture reduces the frequency of tension headaches, cuts back pain and shoulder discomfort, and even reduces the risk of spinal injuries. According to Dr Drew, a red carpet posture also will make you appear taller and thinner. The Hollywood physical therapist adds, "Most importantly, you will display a look of confidence and respect that will make you look glamorous!"
MORE healthy posture tips:
For more information on the book, Red Carpet Posture, visit RedCarpetPosture.com.