Wednesday 14 October 2009

Fixing Poor Posture Habits

My dad was in the Marines; I guess this is the reason he
regularly reminded me to stand up straight. In fact, when
I told him I actually preferred to slouch a little, he
informed me that I looked lazy and unprofessional. He was,
and is, still right, but he forgot to mention one thing.
Proper posture not only makes us look good, but it also
assists with maintaining the body's functional processes.
Standing straight up allows the body to operate more
effectively, like a complex machine. By holding the body
in the correct alignment, we can more efficiently carry out
our daily tasks because proper posture assists in effective
functioning of vital organs. There are a few simple
posture-fixing tips that, once applied in your life, can
help transform any poor, slouching habits you may currently
have. These quick fixes are an excellent way to measure
your posture when you are sitting, walking or standing.

When you are sitting in a meeting, in the car, or at a
table or desk, pretend you are on a plane in take-off mode.
That will get you sitting up straight. We all know what it
feels like to have the flight attendant politely remind us
to take our chairs out of the recline mode and sit up
straight while the plane lifts off. Who knew that extra
quarter-inch you were reclined could impact the ability of
the commercial aircraft to take-off? Regardless of whether
or not airplane seats actually "recline" like we are
accustomed to, sitting in an upright position will help our
spine and nervous system function as well as increase our
capacity to focus. The next time you are in a boring
meeting or class, think about sitting up straight and you
will force yourself to stay more alert. It is actually
pretty amazing how much more efficient you feel when you
sit up straight.

Walk with pride when you stroll to and from places. I was
in a fashion show when I was 14 years old and I will never
forget how the professional models taught me to walk.
"Pretend a rope is tied around your hips and you are being
pulled from the center, a few inches below the belly
button," they said. Give it a try, next time you are
walking, let your hips lead your body. Your shoulder blades
will naturally go up-and-back, your eyes will be looking
straight ahead, and you definitely cannot slouch forward
when you walk this way. Walking with proper posture looks
fabulous and is a great way to burn a few extra calories as
well as increase your walking speed.

When simply standing, there are a few different standards
that should be used to evaluate proper posture. When you
look at yourself in the mirror, make sure your shoulders
and hips are level, parallel to the ground. The head should
be right between the shoulders. The arms need to hang in a
comfortable position, sort of relaxed, with the first
finger and thumb pointing forward. The knees will point
forward and the feet should have a slight turn to the
outsides. Turn sideways and look at your profile; you
should be able to imagine a straight line from the ceiling
to the floor that would go straight through your ear, the
middle of the shoulder, center of the hip, barely behind
the center of the knee and finally down to the ankle bone.

So whether it is at work, school, on a casual walk, or just
standing around, making minor adjustments to your posture
can take only a few seconds. The majority of these few
moments are taken by the mental decision to actually fix a
poor habit. Becoming aware of poor posture is half the
battle of fixing it; so once you realize you need to adjust
your posture, increase your professional image, assist your
body in its functionality and burn a few extra calories, be
proud of this acknowledgement and then, "Stand up straight!"

About the Author:

Courtney attends Utah State University and is a writer for where you can create unique
customized bath and body gift sets.

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