Good Posture, Renee Naturally
Image of < >

Stand up Straight for Better Health

OK, be honest. How many of you read the headline of this article and quickly sat up a little straighter? We all know that we should have good posture, but when you spend a big chunk of your waking life sitting at a desk, it’s easy to let things slip a little.

Recent posts by Fiona J MacDonald
Miracle Egyptian Beauty Mask
Miracle Egyptian Beauty Mask
Back in February, I spent two amazing weeks... (read more)
Aromatherapy for the Office, Renee Naturally
Aromatherapy For the Office
Everyone likes their home and office to... (read more)
Alila Villas Uluwatu
Top Five Eco Holiday Destinations Worldwide
Planning a summer getaway? We haven’t even... (read more)

Don’t worry, I’m not here to make you feel guilty – as I write this I’m slumped on the couch over my laptop (pulling my shoulders back every few minutes out of guilt, may I add). But Renee has invited me to contribute to her wonderful site to share my tips on living a healthy and natural life, and one of the main ways I believe we can do this is by spending a little time each day focussing on our posture.

Why? Posture plays a huge part in our health.  It doesn’t just affect our neck and back - the way you carry yourself can influence your digestion, weight, nervous system, energy levels and even your mood.

Here are some reasons I think you should start caring about your posture:

You’ll take fewer painkillers

When your body is in good alignment, you use your muscles correctly. This takes the pressure off ligaments and joints and reduces the chance of you experiencing aches, pains and injuries. Less tension in your neck and shoulders will also help you avoid headaches.

Your body will also move more efficiently when you’re aligned correctly because all of your muscles, ligaments and bones are working the way they should. When you have good posture, you’re allowing the blood, neural messages and energy to flow uninterrupted, resulting in higher energy levels, naturally.

It helps your digestion

When you’re slouching, you’re putting pressure on your digestive system and this can interfere with the break-down of food. Anyone who has eaten slumped over at dinner only to stand up and feel a sharp stab of indigestion will know what I’m talking about. Good digestion is the key to clear skin, high energy levels and weight loss, so it’s not something you want to mess with.

You’ll breathe easier

Research has found that bad posture reduces your lung capacity and stops you from breathing deeply. Hunch over now and try to take a big, deep breath. It’s not as easy, is it? There have also been studies that show good posture improves the health of your heart, veins and arteries as well.

You’ll look better, instantly

I have always said that, when it comes to beauty, there is nothing so underrated as a genuine smile and good posture. Experts claim that standing up straight can make you look 2kg lighter instantly, but I think it does more than that. Once you’re standing correctly, your legs look longer and more toned, you stomach looks flatter and you look more confident. And not only does standing up straight make you look thinner, it can actually help you to lose weight. Good posture aids digestion and helps to engage the core and thigh muscles, so you’re essentially burning calories while standing still.

It’s a confidence boost

Researchers have shown that standing up straight actually helps people’s impressions of themselves. In addition to feeling better about yourself, you also seem more confident to the people around you, which will affect the way you’re treated, particularly in the workplace. Standing up tall can also help you feel a little better on days you feel the whole world is against you.

How do you achieve it good posture?

There is no perfect position for everyone, but generally speaking, when you’re standing side on you should see two curves in your spine – one at your lower back and one at your neck. Forget the ideal of a ‘straight spine’, these natural curves are important and you need to maintain them whether you’re sitting, standing or lying.
Have a look at your alignment – your ear, shoulders, hips knees and ankles should all be in one straight line. Your shoulder blades shouldn’t be sticking out the back - they should be drawn down your back as much as possible – and your chin shouldn’t be jutting out.

When you’re sitting down, your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees and hips at right angles. The natural arch of your back should be maintained and you should have your shoulders down and back and your chest lifted. Your head should be straight, not looking down, and your forearms should be at right angles to your upper arms as they lay flat on the desk.

It’s important to note when sitting that you should try to avoid crossing your legs – this puts your hip alignment out of whack and can cause all sorts of problems. And don’t forget to take frequent breaks – humans weren’t designed to sit for hours at a time.

Stand taller

Once you’ve got the right alignment, either sitting or standing, you need to support it. Pull your stomach and pelvic floor in and imagine there’s a string pulling you up from the crown of your head. Sucking your deep core muscles in like this won’t feel comfortable straight away, but if you practise it frequently throughout the day, you’ll gradually become stronger. There are plenty of exercises that can help you support your posture, and I won’t go through them all here. But basically, anything that strengthens your core muscles is going to help - Pilates is a fantastic help, as are yoga and Tai Chi. One thing that I will thoroughly recommend is putting on your favourite song once a day and walking briskly with your stomach pulled in, shoulders back and with the crown of your head reaching to the sky. Not only does it help my posture, it makes me feel like I can take on the world.

If you think your alignment needs a lot of work or you’re constantly experiencing neck or back pain, it may be worth seeing your GP or a physiotherapist about targeted ways you can fix your posture.

Stay aware

While there are many tips out there, I believe the most important thing is that you make a conscious decision to improve your posture and become aware of what your body is doing. You will be surprised how many times you slip into bad postures without realising it.

Despite my best intentions, my body quickly collapses into appalling posture when I’m sitting at my desk. This week I’ve been working with a book on my head to try to improve my alignment, and although it spends more time on the floor than my perfectly poised crown, it’s been a good reminder to pay regular attention to how I’m sitting.

Taking on a more aligned posture isn’t easy and unfortunately there’s no quick fix – but the health benefits are worth the hard work. As long as you’re aware of your posture and are making small adjustments daily, you’re heading in the right direction.

Do you have any tips on how to maintain good posture? I’d love to hear whether you’re trying to improve your posture and how you feel after sitting and standing straighter for a few days.


Thanks Fiona/Renee. Have you tried the Alexander Technique before?

Add new comment