The title says it all! I think in our day-to-day life we forget about our posture and how much of an impact it can have on our bodies.
Horse riding has always helped my posture. To ride a horse you need to keep a straight back, no leaning forward or leaning back and keep your core engaged. I’ll admit, my riding position does need some work, but I wouldn’t class myself as a bad rider. The best thing about horse riding is that there are always improvements to be made. As the months have gone on, I’m starting to notice my position more. Not just whilst horse riding but whilst being sat down, driving my car or even whilst walking. Say you’ve gone out for a meal and you’re sat at your table, think about how you’re sat. Are you slouching? Are you carrying your shoulders? Is your chest open or closed? My posture is pretty terrible whilst driving. I’m either slouched forward with hunched shoulders or leaning to my left side. Every few minutes I’ll notice how I’m sat and I’ll correct my posture. It’s a lot harder than it seems though. Well it has been for me. I used to be somewhat comfortable sitting slouched but I think it was more because that’s how I was used to sitting. It was the norm and whenever I corrected myself I would go back to being slouched within a few minutes or seconds. However the more I corrected myself the more my body accepted that hunched shoulders and an arched back are not comfortable and it’s doing more damage than good.
Yoga has really helped me improve my posture but it’s also helped me notice where my weak points are and how I’m avoiding good posture. Before I started yoga my shoulders were near enough always rolled forwards. It caused some discomfort for me but I didn’t think yoga would have been able to help with that, but I’d say after a month or so I was able to notice when my shoulders were rolled forward and I would I’d roll them back into a neutral position. As I started to notice my weak points I was able to make improvements and over time I’m altering my posture less and less and my body has become more comfortable. I’m a top-heavy girl, so I think as my chest grew heavier, naturally my shoulders slouched forward and my upper back lent forward I suppose to make it easier to carry myself. I really noticed this when I was working at a desk job. I was always slouched. I’d have those very few moments where I realised I was slouching so I would correct my position but soon go back to hunched shoulders and leaning forward. Leaving my desk job was possibly the best improvement I could have made to my posture. No more slouching for almost 80% of my day. No more crappy food for dinner. No more snacking. No stress and no more back/shoulder ache. I realise those who have an office based job, aren’t able to leave just like that but you can mentally notice when you are slouching. For me at first it was a bit of a ball ache to keep constantly changing my posture but I knew it needed to improve. When you see all these celebrities sitting in their flashy cars or just sitting in general, you hardly ever see them slouching, shoulders rolled forward or with a closed chest. Posture is the key to everything! Yoga helped me improve my posture, but since I have improved my posture it has also made exercising a lot easier. When I’m out walking or running I’m no longer leaning forward (granted I will lean forwards whilst sometimes running. Supportive sports bras are not that easy to find). Sit ups and push ups have become a lot easier for me to do. Everything is better with good posture, but I will be the first to admit it’s not the easiest change to make, especially if you are used to sitting slouched.
Benefits of good posture:
- Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
- Prevents back ache and shoulder ache.
- Decreases stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
- Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignments so that muscles can be used properly.
- Prevents abnormal wear and tear on the joint surfaces, which could lead to arthritis.
- It helps to open up your airways so you can breathe properly.
- It helps to keep your internal organs (especially lower abdomen) in place without added compression.
Noticing your posture is the first step to improving it. Notice which side of your body is lazier. Notice when you’re avoiding good posture. If you suffer from anxiety like me, breathing is sometimes the only thing that can help you. When my anxiety kicks in, I naturally curl up but that isn’t going to help me. The only thing that helps me is breathing. Sit up straight, roll your shoulders back, open your chest and breathe deeply. At first it might be scary for you (it was for me), but I promise it will help keep your anxiety at bay.
Once you start to notice your posture, you can begin to improve it and over time it will be the simplest but best change you ever made.
Love you all lots,