How to improve your Posture

‘Sit up straight’. ‘Don’t slouch’. ‘Keep your head up’. You probably heard all of these commands barked from your parents, teacher or nanny growing up, but did you ever listen? I hope so, because even though these words sounded like daggers to our ears as young children, they were full of sound advice. Your posture is incredibly important for your health, and failing to maintain it can leave to a range of health problems both now and in later life. Investing in improving your posture will strengthen your muscles and joints, help you breathe easier, improve your circulation & digestion, and protect your spine. If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also benefit from feeling, and portraying, more confidence and looking slimmer and younger. Here’s some tips to help you stay straight and stand tall:

Sit straight If behind a desk is where you spend most of your working week, adjust your chair or use one with a solid back and you’ll soon notice a difference. When you force yourself to sit up straight it will become habit and you’ll soon adopt a better posture wherever you’re sitting. Stop for a Stretch For many of us, at least 30 hours of our week is spent sitting behind a desk at the office. Most of us also hunch over computer screens or slump back in our chairs. All this sedentary time has huge effects on our posture. To stay limber, it’s important to take a couple of minutes every half hour to stretch, stand or get up and walk around. Strengthen your core Your abdominal ‘core’ muscles are the foundation of good posture. The stronger they are, the straighter the positions your body will naturally assume when sitting or standing. Your abs are easy to exercise, so check out the exercise section on the MindMate app for ideas to get you started, or take up yoga which is another great way to strengthen your core Simple Stretches: An easy way to relax your muscles at the end of a busy day is to lie on the floor, somewhere comfortable and stretch out your arms and legs, making circles as if you were making a snow angel. Do this for 2 or 3 minutes at a time and be sure to stop the moment you feel any discomfort or pain. This is a simple move that will help you relax, shake off any tension in your muscles and improve your posture. Practice Yoga Yoga is the perfect discipline for improving your posture. It involves stretches, meditation and breathing exercises to bring you a workout that’s’ stimulating for the body and mind. Best of all, a mat and a bit of space are all you need to get started! Check out the MindMate app for some ideas on getting started. Eat Well Common examples of poor posture, such as humps in the back, are often the result of weak, thin bones. Our bones become weak when we don’t eat the right foods or get enough of essential nutrients. Vitamin D and calcium are the two most important for bone health. Calcium is found in dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese and vitamin D is most prevalent in fish, fruit juices and eggs. Including more of these foods in your diet will strengthen your bones and improve your posture over time.