Let’s face it—we live in a slouchy society. We slouch as we work at the computer for hours at a time, as we eat meals, as we ride the subway—the list is endless. Slouching is a nasty habit for most people and causes back pain and poor circulation. Talking on our cell phones often creates tension in the neck and shoulders as well, and I can’t imagine that constantly staring down at our phones while we text is great either.
Sometimes it’s difficult to simply remind ourselves to sit up straight, so we need easy ways to integrate better posture into our busy lives. The tips below should be a good start!
1. Get a Massage!
I spoke with Rachel Beider, owner and licensed massage therapist at Massage Williamsburg, who believes massage therapy encourages better posture. “Massage therapy stretches and lengthens over-tightened muscles,” she says. “It also improves circulation, and increases our proprioception, which is an awareness of where our body is in space.” This is why you may find that after getting a massage you naturally feel more aligned, and the urge to slouch dissipates.
2. Remember to Stretch
We work hard, yet often forget the importance of a good daily stretch. This is especially the case in winter, when cold-weather bustling causes what I like to call “crunchies,” or muscle knots. People don’t often consider the dangers of neglecting a good stretch routine, especially those that are physically active. For instance, forgetting to stretch after a run or work-out can cause future injury. Stretching has been known to increase circulation, relieve lower back pain, and reduce stress levels. It also increases flexibility and range of motion. If you’re looking for a deeper stretch, attend a yoga class or ask one of our licensed massage therapists at Massage Williamsburg for stretching you can do at home next time you come in for a visit.
3. Prop it up!
When you are sitting, prop a pillow behind your back to encourage normal spinal curvature. If you’re seated and feel your spine poking out of your mid-back, it probably means you are not sitting upright.
4. Take off your heels!
Wearing heels is bad for posture and creates back issues. Try to reserve those stilettos for special occasions, and when you’re home, don’t wear shoes at all. Walking barefoot strengthens foot muscles, and when our feet are strong, so is our posture and alignment.
5. Breathe Deep
You’ll find that while in yoga class your instructor will often ask you to take long inhales and slow exhales. That’s because deep breathing releases tension and allows us to extend our muscles and limbs further. While you read this, try taking a deep inhale with your nose. Difficult huh? It’s much easier to take deep breaths while sitting up straight. In fact, the two positively feed into each other. For more benefits of deep breathing, click here.
Article by: Olivia Saperstein for Massage Williamsburg