If you want healthy posture, this list is for you. We start with the “no brainers” and end with those needing some commitment.
1. Sit back in your chair – very easy
One of the most common errors people make while sitting is to move forward on the seat. Sitting with your back touching the backrest is the right way to do it.
2. Sit less – very easy
Standing meetings are just one way of reducing your total daily sitting time.
3. Walk more – very easy
4. Move it – very easy
Research consistently shows that people should move regularly – how hard really is it to stretch every 30 minutes?
5. Keep your ears over your shoulders – very easy
Kapandji, Physiology of Joints, Vol. 3.
Check out a post we wrote on the issues around forward head posture here.
6. Legs uncrossed – very easy
Crossed legs immediately move your pelvis and spine out of alignment – a habit worth changing.
7. Wear flat shoes – very easy
If you suffer from a sore back and wear heels regularly, do your body a major favour and try a new fashion look.
8. Hands out of pockets – very easy
Having your hands in your pockets rolls your shoulders forward, tips your pelvis, and encourages a head forward posture – buy some gloves instead.
9. Drop your shoulders – very easy
You often hear people say “pull your shoulders back” for good posture, but it’s even more useful to relax them and keep them down.
10. Drink more water – very easy
Your body runs on water, pure and simple. If you become dehydrated all body systems suffer. As your posture is dependent on everything from spinal disk fluid to muscle tone, staying hydrated is a no-brainer if you want a strong posture.
11. Take a posture selfie and pin it up – very easy
One effective little trick to keep you alert to your daily posture, is to get a friend to take a photo of you working. You can pin it somewhere that you will see throughout the day. This visual reminder is particularly helpful when unlearning some sloppy postural habits.
12. Learn a hip flexor stretch – easy
If you sit a lot (and you know you do), your hip flexors will be tight and short. You need to stretch them. Today.
13. Learn to “plank” – easy
“Planking” is just an awesome way to strengthen your core muscles. Great posture needs a strong core.
14. Use a posture sensor – easy
These little electronic gizmos both track your posture and nag you into avoiding slobby habits with a gentle buzz. The current best is the Lumo Lift which can really make a difference when training a healthy posture.
15. Chest stretch – easy
16. Invest in a foam roller – easy
A foam roller is a cheap and simple way to undo those knots and tight spots in your back and limbs. They are surprisingly effective and easily available at Amazon.com.
17. Strengthen your abs – easy
Strong abs are very important for posture. Situps are out and crunches are in now, which is lucky as they are easy to do.
18. Learn wall angel / wall slide exercise – easy
This simple exercise is fantastic for teaching you to bring your shoulders back without pushing your head forward. Do it.
19. Breathe properly – easy
Breathing properly means being straight and opening up your diaphragm – that sounds just like great posture.
20. Get an opinion from the pros – easy
Self help is awesome, but there are professionals in the field of posture (chiropractors to name one type) who can assess you expertly and recommend a programme just for you.
21. Learn what “neutral spine” is – easy
“Neutral spine” is the key starting position that we need to build our posture around. It’s not hard to learn and you should do it.
22. Invest in the right pillow – easy
23. Stretch those hamstrings – easy
Tight and weak hamstrings are a very common problem for people who sit a lot (hands up again). There are plenty of great stretches to sort this problem out.
24. Use a self massage tool – easy
You can’t always make time to visit a professional so the next best thing is one of the many personal massagers available. We recommend the Body Back Buddy and you can read our review here.
25. Get a massage – easy
26. Flex those ankles – easy
Tight, inflexible ankles stop you walking and standing with good posture – learn some stretches. Here’s a link to some good ones.
27. Neck stretcher – easy
A lot of people suffer from sore / tight necks. One easy trick is to simply roll up a towel and lie with it under your neck, or you can use one of the many commercial products such as the DaVinci pictured above.
28 . Visit a foot doctor – easy
Your posture starts at your feet and the professionals are podiatrists – visit one.
29. Improve your balance – easy – medium
OK, so this pic of an expert slack liner looks a little extreme, but the reality is that great posture goes hand in hand with great balance. If slack lining is not your thing, how about a Nintendo Wii balance board and a couple of games – it works!
30. Explore desk options – medium
Standing desks are a great option if you can talk the boss into investing. Even better is having two desks – one for sitting at and one for standing at so that you can vary your position over the day.
31. Sort out your calves – medium
Tight calves are like tight hamstrings – they wreck your posture. Stretch them.
32. Do “reverse” exercises like rowing – medium
Rowing is a stellar way to compensate for all the forward leaning, round shouldered time you usually spend each day. If the real thing is not for you, 30 minutes on a rowing machine at the gym or at home will do the trick.
33. Activate your glutes (yes, your bum) – medium
One of the consequences of our modern (sitting) lifestyle is weak glutes. Strengthen your buns for better posture.
34. Get sorted in the office – medium
A properly setup workstation is absolutely vital for your posture. There are plenty of guides online to help you get it right.
35. Do push-ups – medium
Push-ups are old school, but are still one of the simplest and most effective ways to strengthen your core muscles.
36. Do pull-ups – commitment needed
Now, we’ll be the first to admit that pull-ups (chin-ups) are a tough exercise. However, you can work your way towards them by doing modified versions at the gym. We are fans of the clip on bars that you put in a door way at home. Even if you can’t get right up, simply hanging there lets your spine decompress. (Here’s an example on Amazon.)
37. Take up pilates – commitment needed
Pilates is simply awesome for all round posture. Join a class today or visit YouTube for self help.
38. Take up yoga – commitment needed
Yoga is to posture like air is to breathing. A local class, YouTube, or DVD courses – they are all excellent. Hard work will pay off in this case.
So there you go, 38 great tips for sorting a healthy posture for yourself. Let us know if you have any other proven ideas that we should add.