How To Improve Posture
After 17+ years of successfully working to improve posture in thousands of people of all ages and being trained in the best spinal correction and postural correction systems, I have discovered that improving posture comes down to three foundational components. They are the must have ingredients to a lifetime of perfect posture.
The Perfect Posture
The three foundational components for improving posture are Alignment, Being empowered (self-empowerment), and Correct training (lengthening or strengthening). The “how” in addressing each one can vary but by incorporating them all in a concerted effort you can make a significant long-lasting difference. Here they are with a brief description of each. But first…
Why Improve Posture?
If you’re looking for ways to improve posture then you, like many others have come across one or more of the following reasons as motivation to improve your posture:
- Appearance – you or someone else has noticed you are slouching, slumping, crooked, curved, tilting or generally not looking like you’re sitting or standing up straight.
- Pain – you hurt! Maybe you are tired of using pills or potions that give temporary relief. Maybe someone told you that your posture is related to your discomfort.
- Movement – The activities you were able to do, now are done with discomfort or you just avoid them and want to be able to move how you like. You’re active and looking to enhance performance, get that extra edge, improve your health (certain health conditions have high correlation to poor posture), or wanting optimal human function.
You’ve seen it and most can sense when someone has poor posture or good posture. Many times having someone else look for you can be more effective, accurate and quite frankly honest. There are various methods you can use on your own to determine your posture. Check out my article: Posture Analysis.
Global and Segmental
So you have a clear idea of your current posture, how do you address alignment? Consider your alignment from two perspectives global and segmental. Global refers to the overall alignment from head to toe and segmental refers to the individual sections of the body and spine. It is important to address the segmental aligment as it will restore stability on the spinal level resulting in thanges on the global level. You need a method that will help to restore stability of the segments which will enhance the other foundational work your incorporating to improve your posture.
Who Specializes in Segmental Alignment?
This is where you may decide to get some help. Posture experts who are actively helping people come in many forms. The best posture experts always consider both global and segmental alignment. These Posture Expert professionals may call themselves by different professional titles such as: Doctors of Chiropractic, Osteopaths, Doctors of Physical therapy, or Rolfers just to name a few.
My general rule of thumb when an out-of-state client asks me where they can find someone who specialize in posture correction I tell them to always ask the practitioner if they do regular “progress evaluations”. If they don’t, how would they know if you are improving? They wouldn’t.
Correct Training – Lengthen & Strengthen
When the posture breaks down it is often times due to accidents and injuries tearing connective tissue in the spine or vertebral column causing an overall postural degradation. Chronic weak muscles are a result of poor alignment. They become too long. Shortened tight muscles counter-act the weak muscles. Lengthen constricted harder tissues (ligaments and tendons) to take the stress off chronically weak muscles. Weak muscles need to be strengthened correctly as the shortened muscles become longer.
Many people have asked me what is the one thing they can do to improve their posture. I respond with “how important is it to you in your life?” Making posture improvement a priority in your life is invoking a very powerful practice of self-discipline and self-integrity. With discipline and integrity you can accomplish many things including improving posture.
A very successful practice is to create a plan that details out what you will do for 40 days to attain your goal. Studies show that 40 days of consistent application of a healthy habit can begin the rewiring of your brain taking it from a conscious effort to a more natural habit. For example, put a post-it on your computer screen to remind you to sit up straight or use recent technology devices that buzz you to remind you to straight up when you’re slouching.
Other self-empowering habits include following:
- through with a posture expert’s protocol
- completing a muscle retraining program
- re-configuring your workstation
- wearing a posture device
- optimizing your sleeping position
- learning proper lifting techniques
- setting your phone to ring every 45 minutes to inspire you to shift your posture
In general learn more about your body and thus what it takes to improve posture. Understanding your habits will give you more insight into how you may be creating your own poor posture. More information and greater awareness plugs into your strong desire to make a change into reachable, actionable steps. This results in a the posture you always wanted.
Keeping Your Posture Fit
Just like keeping your hair or teeth looking good and healthy, your improved posture also requires ongoing support. By keeping your posture a priority you can insure a high level of postural fitness. This means that you posture will have a wide range of adaptability. This will allow you to take on the everyday external stressors that push to weaken or collapse your perfect posture. Take care of your posture and it will take care of you for many years to come.
Dr. Paul Paez, DC, NRT, NET, CMT
National Board Certified Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), trained in clinical nutrition (NRT), neuro-emotional release (NET), and Massage Therapy (CMT). Dr. Paul holds the rare triple distinction of Certified Posture Expert, Certified Posture Neurologist and Certified Posture Ergonomist by the American Posture Institute. Posture Possible is the very best resource for posture information.