Expert Tips for Maintaining Good Posture
Are you curled up at your desk all day? Do you want to lengthen your muscle and bone health, but don’t know where to start? Stop being a lazy Susan and listen to Los Angeles physical therapist Vivian Eisenstadt and craniosacral therapist Isabella Pilar for some of the most effective ways to elongate your spine and keep it healthy.
In this modern society, where we are constantly humping our backs to computers and cell phones, learning how to sit up straight becomes all the more important. Eisenstadt explains that to really sit up straight, you have to have “legs apart and shoulder-width apart and heels equal to hip-width. Keep your legs at 90 degrees to your knees and hips, in other words, cross your legs!” Your legs should have a small arc. There should be a small arc to the bottom of your back,” she continued.” Slide your shoulders back, not straightening your mid-back, and tuck your chin in.”
At first, you might think it’s a bit mechanical to follow these guidelines so specifically, but once you get the hang of it, sitting straight becomes second nature to you.
In Los Angeles and other major cities around the world, we inevitably find ourselves stuck in traffic a lot of the time.” Lean your body forward, pushing your hips back as far as you can. Lean your body back against the chair with your body leaning back in the chair above your hips. When driving, keep the rear of the seat relatively upright, not slouched,” says the Eisenstadt instructor, so as to ensure the overall correct posture while driving. Unfortunately, her advice won’t magically make a traffic accident go away, but your body will thank you later.
In your absence.
In other words, be involved in your core movement at all times.” By keeping your abs in place before you exercise, your body will want to choose the right muscles for the exercise, rather than always choosing your lower back or neck, whether it’s getting out of a chair or walking through the mall,” says Eisenstadt. If you feel like you need to strengthen your core, then find a workout video on YouTube, or a workout video at your local cardio or strength training class to get those muscles working!
Do you ever feel like a summer Santa Claus, lugging around a book bag full of clothes and groceries? Eisenstadt explains, “Instead of hunching over like our favorite Merry Christmas idol, take a broad stance, bending from the knees and hips, rather than bending over from the waist.” Most people’s lower back is the weak part of the human body, because it’s easy to get hurt sitting all day.” So be extra careful not to put pain and strain on vulnerable parts of the body and don’t have the mindset of pain and strain.
A big part of bad posture is often self-esteem. According to Eisenstadt, “Bad posture carries an energy. It can be interpreted as a lack of confidence or closed communication…….. By correcting posture, we also inadvertently heal the emotional issues associated with imbalance.”
So hold your core, roll your shoulders back, tell yourself some words of affirmation, and walk proudly into the world with your head held high! You’re sure to feel happy, energized, and turn your head in the process.
Yoga is a great way to maintain posture. Yoga can target different muscle groups and enhance the overall body. Cobra and trigonometry are great ways to reverse the lazy pose you’ve been sitting at your desk in all day. Find a local yoga class, or spend 10 minutes in the morning or evening doing some quick stretches. (If you’re really pressed for time, you can even do some yoga at your desk.)
We know everyone reading this is already smart, but it’s also time to get smart about your posture! “If your job requires you to sit for 10 hours a day, be sure to get into the good habit of stretching, exercising and drinking enough water to balance out the tightness that comes with holding a pose for a long time.” Eisenstadt said. So, what does your day look like? Take an honest assessment of what kind of posture your body is in all day, and then make a plan to combat bad posture!
Take care of your feet.
Are you constantly unsteady on your feet? Does it feel sore and tired over the weekend? Craniosacral therapist Isabella Pilar recommends “rolling out your feet with a tennis ball to break up the fascia on your feet and make your feet feel stretchy and vibrant.” If you do a quick Google search for reflexology, each part of your foot is associated with a different organ or body part, so you can explore hitting the right acupuncture points for you! Focus on the medial and lateral balls of your feet to relieve pressure on your shoulders.
Focus on your breath.
With the stress of work, email, kids, school, life, we sometimes forget to breathe. There are many yoga and meditation based breathing exercises that you can adopt, or you can check out the YouTube videos that Pilar recommends for some quick and practical breathing exercises. Once we feel more calm and allow the oxygen to circulate to the brain, our body relaxes and our shoulders relax.
Seek professional help.
If all of these posture techniques sound great, but you still feel pain, or something seems to be missing, then go to a professional like Vivian or Isabella to help you correct your problem. It’s especially important to seek help if you have a chronic problem so as not to cause permanent damage to your spine. As Eisenstadt says, “good posture is the foundation of a healthy life” – so what are you waiting for? Use her and Pilar’s helpful tips to thrive on your health.