As part of her web series A Well-Designed Life, HGTV’s Genevieve Gorder recently posted a great video called Tips For Having Better Posture At Any Age. In the video, a choreographer shows Gen and her daughter how to maintain good posture by doing simple exercises and using reminders throughout the day.
Sticking with the theme of threes, here is what I love about the video, why posture is important, and my three favorite exercises.
Three things I love about this video
1) Posture reminders. It is impossible to think about your posture all day; nor would anyone want to. But if we never think about it, we will suffer from aches; poor posture can even lead to the early onset of osteoarthritis. I am always telling my patients to find a regular time to think about it: at every stop light, when reading emails, at the start of every meeting, on the elevator. At every natural pause, make it a habit to reset your body to its proper posture.
2) Do exercises in different positions throughout the day. It is hard to find 15 minutes to stretch if we have a hectic schedule and are always running from place to place, but if we know different exercises we can do throughout the day, then we can fit in a few 1-2 minute intervals to stretch. While my favorite exercises are different than hers, I agree that three is a good number of exercises to practice throughout the day.
3) Get your family involved. Gen’s adorable daughter was learning about good posture right by her side. These days, children are slouching over tablets before they can even walk, and this leads to bad posture habits. They are also getting less exercise, and schools teach them little about the importance of stretching and posture. Making posture exercises a fun family activity will ensure the exercises are done and teach kids healthy habits.
Three reasons why posture is so important
1) Less pain. Gravity is working against us, and if we are not using the correct muscles to fight it we will lose the battle.
2) General health. Multiple studies, including “Body Mechanics and Posture” by The Journal of Health and Physical Education, have linked better posture to better overall health, including a longer lifespan and more active golden years. There’s a reason you don’t see little old men with humpbacks sailing the world or hiking with their grandkids. Good posture allows your diaphragm to fully expand, allowing you to get more oxygen; this provides you with more energy to fuel your adventures.
3) Confidence. Amy Cuddy’s “Power Pose” on TED Talks is about how standing tall helps you feel confident to “fake it until you make it” in business. Good posture causes people to perceive you as smarter and more authoritative, and more approachable at the same time.
Dr. Rachel’s 3 favorite exercises for posture
1) Cat Camel. Do for 1 minute in the morning and 1 minute at night. Great full spine stretch, perfect for stiffness and pain.
How to: Start on all fours. Drop your pelvis and look up making an arch like a U with your back. Then tuck your head down and round your back towards the ceiling reversing your U.
2) Back stretch at the sink (T4 extension). Do for 20-30 seconds after brushing your teeth.
How to: with your feet on the floor, stand placing your hands on the sink and bend forward until your body makes an L at the waist while stretching forward
3) Bruggers. Perform at your desk for 20-30 seconds every half hour. This stretch resets you and reminds you to sit straight. Resetting yourself every 30 minutes will prevent you from letting gravity pull you down after sitting at a computer for 8 hours.
How to: Stretch your neck up tall, have your arms by your sides with your thumbs outward, tuck in your chin and pull your shoulder blades together without raising your shoulders. This can be done sitting or standing.
Now that you know the importance of posture and how to easily incorporate posture exercises in your days, you look taller already.