A few tweaks to your posture can help you straighten up your
"Feet apart, stomach in, shoulders back, chin up." This is your
inner drill sergeant talking. And many of us have gone AWOL.
The good news is, it's never too late to improve your posture.
Here's why you should learn to stand straight and how you can
improve your posture.
Consequences of Bad Posture
From board meetings to bunko groups, there's a lot of tension
these days-as in neck tension. "Our necks and backs hurt, and poor
posture is the No. 1 culprit," says Janice Novak, M.S., author of
the book, Posture, Get it Straight! (Perigee Trade, 1999).
When you hunch forward, your body isn't properly aligned. "Not
only does poor posture look bad, but it forces some muscles to work
incredibly hard all day long while others get weaker," Novak says.
Poor posture can put you in other slumps, too. "When you slouch,
you're pressing down on your internal organs, which affects
digestion," Novak says, adding that circulation and breathing
capacity can take a hit too.
Unlike other bad habits, poor posture can be relaxing to
correct. Why? Massage
therapy can help get your body back on track. In fact, Novak,
who calls massage "a necessity, not a luxury," says a good massage
therapist can be invaluable to help improve
posture by relaxing the tension overload that our muscles
develop in response to bad posture.
Massage can relax and loosen the muscles made sore by bad
posture, allowing your body to position itself in its natural-and
Novak's book outlines a one-minute-to-better-posture plan to
unlock knees, pull in abs, "lift" the rib cage and unround the
shoulders. Core exercises, such as planks, crunches and back
extensions, can help strengthen the muscles that support good
In the end, retraining yourself to have good posture will be
worth the effort. "Your posture conveys an awful lot to the world
around you," Novak says. "Do you want to convey insecurity or
vitality and strength?" -By Laurie Davies