Have you ever been sitting or standing around, just minding your own business, when someone with impeccable posture walks by and suddenly find yourself hyper aware of how much you’re slouching? Well, you’re not alone. According to the Arthritis Disease Center, 50-80% of Americans complain of back pain during their lifetime, and poor posture is a common contributor .
Good posture is important and not just for the obvious reasons–relieving the aches and pains associated with having bad posture is just the tip of the iceberg. It also improves your appearance, mobility, flexibility, and helps you project self-confidence and self-assurance. Unfortunately, good posture doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people. And if you aren’t in pain, well, sometimes it might not be obvious you need to make improvements at all.
Learning how to fix bad posture is a lot easier than you might think. First, you need to identify what needs to be fixed, and here’s how…
Types Of Bad Posture
These are the most common indications of poor posture:
1. Good Posture
Imagine there is a line that runs from the top of your head to your feet along the side of your body and there is a string pulling the top of your head upwards, allowing you to stand as tall as you possibly can. With good posture, there is an even distribution of weight on either side of the imaginary line. Your shoulders are slightly rolled back and relaxed, chest is open, pelvis is relaxed and in a neutral position and everything is evenly distributed along the line.
2. Sway Back
If you have a tendency to thrust your pelvis forward allowing your upper body to sway back, you have an imbalance.
3. Lumbar Lordosis
This is when there is an excessive arch in the lower back. If, when you stand completely straight, there is an extreme curve of the lower back, you might have lumbar lordosis.
4. Thoracic Kyphosis
This is also commonly known as a “hunchback”. Thoracic kyphosis is when there is an abnormal curving of your thoracic spine (upper back). This type of imbalance is very common in the older population and with people who have desk jobs.
5. Forward Head
This type of imbalance is typically caused by overactive cervical flexors (the muscles in the front of your neck). The result? A protruding head and neck.
Causes of Poor Posture
There are a number of causes of poor posture, including:
- Lack of education/ awareness of correct posture
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Joint stiffness
- Muscle tightness/lack of flexibility
- Poor core stability
- Occupational demands
- Muscle weakness
- Decreased fitness
- Poor ergonomic workstations
How To Fix Bad Posture
Learning how to fix bad posture might feel impossible if you’ve never committed to correcting it–but with proper stretching and corrective exercise, it is possible.
Here are 11 simple stretches and corrective exercises to help reverse these musculoskeletal imbalances.
Performing these stretches and exercises on a regular basis can help improve posture and range of motion, increase mobility and flexibility, and relieve aches and pains caused by poor posture.
For the stretches, hold each position for 30-60 seconds and complete 2-3 rounds 4-7 days per week.
You should complete 2-4 rounds of 10-20 reps of the corrective exercises. The exercises will become easier the more frequently you perform them. Here is a good rep/set progression if you perform these regularly:
20 reps, 2 rounds
15 reps, 3 rounds
Weeks 7-9:10 reps, 4 rounds
Keeping this progression in mind, increase the resistance once you move to the next combination sequence.
Corrective Stretches & Exercises For Bad Posture
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