“Standing up straight” or “pulling your shoulders back” is only a small part of the story. Instead, let's have a quick chat about, mindfully asking our muscles to produce the desired posture we need in a given moment. Not giving into our body's posture.
Posture is defined as, 'the position in which someone holds their body when standing or sitting'. But that assumes you are holding your body upright. In other words, we activating our muscles to work for us.
Posture is this cool word that everyone’s talking about nowadays. Especially, since we learned that sitting is the new smoking and that exercise can significantly improve our health. That’s beautiful to stay. But the reality is that most people will continue to sit throughout their days and exercise usually means an hour of exertion a few times per week.
So what do we do while we’re, inevitably sitting, and while we’re moving around in the day?
The answers are easier than you think. And I’ve created a quick list of habits we can easily add in a day. Since they are things we're already doing.
Squeeze your butt! This is a big muscle that’s being lengthened (stretched) as we sit on it, without asking it to perform the opposite movement - contraction. The next time you’re switching between tasks or shifting in your seat, activate your booty for at least 30 seconds. Repeat as many times as desired.
When standing always think about activating your butt. It’s one of the main reasons why humans are able to stand upright in the first place. It can also take a lot of stress off your low-back.
Not to mention it will help to change your hip position. Which is important for…
Breathing, duh! Who knew breathing was so important? By squeezing our butts, we change the way our diaphragm (the muscle that allows us to inhale & exhale) expands in our abdomen. With bigger breaths, we stay more focused and alert, as well as using more core muscles, which results in better posture with more ease.
Another massive benefit of breathing deeply is, that we massage our internal organs. Crazy, right? Turns out a lot of our hormones are produced in the gut. With bigger breaths, we can help the process of producing more good hormones.
Longer strides. This one sounds weird but stay with me for a moment. With longer strides, we stretch the front of our hips, focusing on the TFL. As well as, increasing the degree of which we rotate of our torsos (something barely any of us do).
The TFL is constantly being shortened because we sit - a lot. Thus, by creating a big rotational-stretch, through longer strides, we help our hips relax and make it more enjoyable to sit for longer periods. Increasing our stabilizer muscles is another benefit I've seen from the extra rotating, and as a result standing and sitting became easier too.
Try starting with one of these new habits and add it to your week. If you can go 7 days of incorporating it into your routine, than you’re on the right path to better posture. Add a second habit when you feel comfortable with the first, and if you’re ambitious, then add them all at once. Maybe add some reminders on your phone to help too to help.
Take care and get outside!