Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was an instant fix that would help you look leaner, taller, and stronger? Turns out, there is. Sure, it might take a little bit of work to keep the fix in place, but a simple change can transform the way your body looks (and feels!) from this moment forward. You ready for the secret? It’s your posture.
Look better in one second flat.
Have you ever sat at a restaurant where the table legs didn’t all connect to the floor? You fend off a wobbly surface all meal – and it makes everything a little bit harder and a little more stressful. Poor posture is like that. It doesn’t seem catastrophic, but it makes everything just a bit more challenging for your body. That includes looking toned and trim.
Remember how Julie Andrews made Anne Hathaway work on her posture as part of her makeover in The Princess Diaries? She was onto something. When you stand up straight with your shoulders back and your stomach tucked in, you’re supporting your body and your swag. Check it out in the mirror. Slouch, then stand straight. How much slimmer and stronger do you look in good posture? Aligning your body is an instant way to look your best.
What happens when you don’t pay attention to posture.
On the other hand, poor posture takes a toll on the way you look and your physical health. When you slouch, slump, lock your knees, misalign your hips, or engage in any other bad body habit, you push your bones out of their proper alignment. Ever feel tired for a reason you can’t explain? It could be your posture. Bad posture creates more wear on your joints and more work for your muscles. Your organs can get squished together, making it harder to digest your food – or even breathe! It puts more stress on the ligaments that hold your spine in place and strains your body overall, leaving you feeling drained. And, over time, it can even lead to issues like back and neck pain or arthritis.
But don’t worry! Getting into proper posture – and staying there – requires only a tiny bit of energy and focus.
Three hacks to help you improve your posture.
- Find the right alignment. What does proper posture look like for you? It’s time to find your back up against the wall – for a good cause. Stand straight against a wall and feel how your spine aligns. Relax your shoulders, drawing them down and back. Level your chin so it’s parallel with the floor and tuck in your stomach. Stay there for a minute and notice how your body feels. That’s the standing posture you want to copy throughout the day.
- Get into ergonomics. You’ve probably seen peers or coworkers swap their desk chair for an exercise ball or standing desk. These hacks force you to be more serious about your posture, but you don’t have to give up your cushy chair just yet! Adjust your chair so your feet rest flat and your thighs are parallel with the floor. Then, elevate your computer monitor so you can look at it straight on without craning your neck up or down. Put a lumbar pillow in your chair to keep your spine curved. There! You just made your desk a whole lot more ergonomic. Want to keep going? The Mayo Clinic has a great how-to guide.
- Stick to it. One of the hardest parts about proper posture is keeping it. It’s easy to stand straight, but all it takes is one funny GIF on your phone to have you hunched over the glowing screen. Like any other habit, good posture is going to require you to put in some work on the frontend. You can make it easier for yourself by setting little reminders, like a sticky note at your desk or recurring alarm on your phone. Or, if you really want a hand, you can get a posture tracker like Lumo.
Try it for a week and see how you feel. We promise that better posture will have you looking and feeling your best! And if you have any other tips for great posture, let us know in the comments. We still find ourselves slouching on the couch… Help us out!