You don’t have to accept that burning pain in your neck and shoulders, ache in your low back and throbbing headaches as a daily norm. Pain isn’t normal and can often be remedied just by improving your posture. Dr. Beverly Marr, creator of The Soar Method for Perfect Posture, says proper posture will not only help ease your pain, but it can also improve your energy level and even your digestion. Here are five of Dr. Marr’s stretching and strengthening exercises for better posture.
Slumping is bad for your health
Hunching over your keyboard or just slouching into your couch can negatively change your body alignment over time. This structural shift in your body’s posture when you’re sitting and standing not only causes body aches, it affects your overall health. Dr. Marr explains, “Poor posture can lead to aches and pains, particularly back and neck, and headaches. If you are slumped over, you cannot take a full breath, which can greatly impact your energy level, and your digestion is compromised because you are squishing your stomach.”
Better posture is good for both body and mind
According to Dr. Marr, many people are even aware they have postural problems, though their poor postural habits persist. “At screenings, we ask people how they rate their posture and 90 percent say ‘terrible,’ — not OK, not poor, but terrible,” explains the posture expert. She adds that posture also impacts our self-image. “Standing taller, we can look slimmer and younger and feel more confident, too.”
Daily posture tips
Though specific exercises that help stretch and strengthen your body into perfect alignment are crucial, Dr. Marr recommends checking your posture every day while you’re standing and sitting so that a perfect posture becomes second nature.
- When standing, your ear, shoulder and hips should be in a straight line.
- Your chin and head should not be jutted forward.
- Your stomach should be pulled in and up, belly button toward the back bone.
- Your shoulders should be back and relaxed downward.
- When standing, your weight should be on both feet equally.
- When sitting, your feet should be flat on the floor and your spine should rest against the back of the chair.
- At the computer, don’t stretch your neck forward to view the computer screen. Instead hold your back and neck straight and flex forward at the hip.