(CARLSBAD, CA) – “Stand up straight!” Your mother’s words ring loud and clear, and suddenly you wish you had actually listened. Perhaps your head juts forward from extended computer use. Or your shoulders have rounded from the stress of daily life. Maybe years of slouching are starting to take a toll on your neck and back.
A poor posture is not only unattractive, but also causes needless suffering in your muscles and joints. Good posture, on the other hand, decreases the wear and tear on your joints as well as the stress on ligaments that hold your joints together. Utilizing good posture can also ward-off fatigue, since your muscles work more efficiently when your body is properly aligned.
Even if your posture doesn’t resemble the Hunchback of Notre Dame, there’s still likely room for correction. Try the following steps to improve your posture.
Step 1: Learn what good posture really is. Standing straight as a board isn’t the epitome of perfect posture because your spine has three natural curves. The Mayo Clinic describes these curves as your cervical curve (inward curve from the base of your head to your shoulders), the thoracic curve (outward curve at your upper back), and lumbar curve (inward curve in your lower back).
Step 2: Check yourself head-to-toe. Stand in front of your mirror to assess your posture from head to toe. Your ears should align over your shoulders and hips. Lift your chest high, draw your shoulders back, slightly contract your abdomen, micro-bend your knees, keep your feet parallel, and distribute your weight evenly on your two feet.
Step 3: Practice makes perfect. Practice your perfect posture using a wall. Place your feet about three inches away from the wall. Stand with your head, shoulder blades, and buttocks touching the wall. Slide your hand behind the curve of your lower back and place your palm against the wall. Adjust your stance, so the space between your low back and the wall equals the thickness of your hand. As you walk away from the wall, try to maintain this posture.
Exercise Properly – Surprisingly, it’s actually possible to be physically fit and still have poor posture. The key to helping your posture is doing the right exercises and doing them properly. Strengthening your abdominal and back muscles is vital to good posture. Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett uses Pilates-based core exercises in her fitness routines to facilitate good posture.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,800 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in all 50 states and 32 countries. For more than 40 years, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive fitness program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.