by Charles Weller

Mom always nagged you about having good posture, but only because slouching isn’t pretty. Standing up straight does make you look thinner, taller and more youthful. But, the benefits of good posture have more to do with health and wellness. Fortunately, good posture is something you can correct with proper exercise and the discipline to create better habits.

Good posture is:

  • Standing Stand up straight, with your shoulders back, neck straight, chin level and feet spread slightly apart. Analyze your posture with this article to determine how you stand.
  • Sitting Cal OSHA puts out a brochure on the best posture for working on your computer. Your gaze should be about level with your computer screen, with your arms and legs at a ninety degree angle to the keyboard and floor, respectively.
  • Sleeping The best sleeping position is on your side, followed by your back. Avoid stomach sleeping, as it can kink your neck and cause lower back pain.

Good posture improves:

  • Breathing If you slouch or hunch over, you compress your lungs and don’t get the air you need. The problem is, after a time your body can adapt to bad posture.
  • Body health Good posture helps your body stay healthy and pain free by keeping the strain off of muscles, joints and your spine. Poor posture leads to a multitude of aches and pains.
  • Mood and Attitude Amy Cuddy gives a TED talk about how adapting powerful, strong posture actually changes your perception about yourself. Her approach is “Fake it till you become it.”
  • Concentration This goes a little with Cuddy’s theory, but scientific studies about memory and posture have also verified that memory improves with better posture.

You can correct your posture by retraining your body through exercises specifically designed to strengthen the muscles you need to sit and stand up straight. Core or abdominal work is the most important exercise for supporting your spine, according to Dr. Glenn Kent, health psychologist and personal trainer at Jefferson University in Virginia. Dr. Kent advises patients to follow core exercises with work on your shoulders and chest, hips and then neck.

You aren’t born with poor posture; it’s just a bad habit that you can easily correct. If you can retrain your body for better posture, you’ll not only look better but you’ll feel better and prevent a whole host of health problems as you get older.

Charles Weller
Charles Weller