Even if you have well-defined muscles and toned abs from working out hours at the gym, you can destroy it by having bad posture. When you don’t hold your body in alignment, your shoulders look weaker and even the best toned abs look flabby. Plus, poor posture makes you less confident and sure of yourself. That can hurt you in the job world.
Sadly, many people spend time developing muscles and burning off fat, but don’t give their posture a second thought. But other people notice. Here are some ways to improve your posture and body alignment to look and feel your best.
Change How You Sit in a Chair
If you have an office job, you probably spend a number of hours slumped in a chair. If you’re slouching, leaning to one side or crossing your legs during part of the day, you’re throwing your body off center and putting stress on your neck and back. Time to change how you sit. Uncross your legs, sit up straight and keep your body from head to hips in one straight line. It takes conscious focus at first, but it’ll become second nature if you’re consistent. The reward? You’ll look better, have less back and neck discomfort and feel more energetic at the end of the day.
Get an ergonomically-friendly chair to help you maintain good alignment or sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. Resting your bottom on an exercise ball forces you to align your spine to maintain balance since it’s an unstable surface. As an added bonus, you can use it to do abdominal exercises on your lunch break. Don’t forget to get up and stretch at least every 30 minutes throughout the day.
Be More Aware of Your Standing Posture
Most people don’t realize they slouch when the stand. Stand in front of a mirror and observe your posture when you’re facing the mirror and when you’re standing to one side. From the side, your ears, shoulders and hips should be in one straight line and your stomach flat. Your back should have a slight curvature. Your head should be straight – not pushed forward. Ask someone you trust to evaluate your posture and give you some honest feedback. Most people don’t realize their posture is bad.
Strengthen Your Core Muscles
Some people focus too much on their abdominal muscles when they exercise and don’t strengthen the muscles in their back and spine. This creates a muscle imbalance that’s bad for posture and can trigger neck and back problems. Focus on exercises that work the entire core in a balanced manner. Planks, wall squats and super mans, where you lie on your stomach and lift your arms and legs off the floor, all help to build stronger back and spine muscles. Borrow some moves from Pilates and yoga to improve your posture. Aim for a balanced workout that strengthens all of the core muscles not just your abs by using workouts like Core Max and Ab Circuits.
Be More Aware of Your Posture
Self-check your posture throughout the day to make sure you’re maintaining alignment until it becomes a habit. You may have to retrain yourself to stand and sit properly, but it’ll be worth it. You’ll look better and have fewer back and neck problems when you’re no longer slouching and your body is in proper alignment.
WebMD. “Your Guide to Better Posture”