Easy Ways to Perfect Your Posture
Master great posture with these tips from “The Women’s Health Diet” by Stephen Perrine and the editors of Women’s Health.
-The Betty Editors
Feeling pain in your neck, shoulders or back and don’t know why? Your poor posture may be to blame. Here’s an excerpt from The Women’s Health Diet (womenshealthdietbook.com)—a brand new book by Stephen Perrine, Leah Flickinger, and the editors of Women’s Health—on how to recognize and reverse the damage that your poor posture is causing you. Like your mother always said, “No slouching!”
Analyze Your Alignment
Wear something form-fitting and take two full-body photos, one from the front and one from the side. Relax your muscles but stand as tall as you can, with your feet hip-width apart. Now compare your photos to the one below to diagnose your posture problems. If you spot one of the following problems, add our fixes to your regular workout plan.
Diagnosis: Forward Head
Your chin protrudes out from your chest and your legs are in front of your shoulders.
Where pain strikes: Neck
The problem: Stiff muscles in the back of your neck
Fix it: Moving only your head, drop your chin down and in toward your neck while stretching the back of your neck. Hold for 5 seconds; do this 10 times daily.
The problem: Weak muscles in front of your neck
Fix it: Do this daily: Lying faceup on the floor, lift your head so it just clears the floor. Raise your head and hold for 5 seconds; do 2 or 3 sets of 12 reps.
Diagnosis: Elevated Shoulder
Your shoulders are not in line with your collarbone but encroach up toward your ears.
Where pain strikes: Neck and shoulders
The problem: A shortened trapezius muscle (the muscle that starts at the back of your neck and runs across your upper back)
Fix it: Perform this stretch: With your higher-side arm behind your back, tilt your head away from your elevated side until you feel the stretch in your upper trapezius. Apply slight pressure with your free hand on your stretched muscle. Hold for 30 seconds; repeat 3 times.
The problem: A weak serratus anterior, the muscle just under your pecs that runs from your upper ribs to your shoulder blades
Fix it: Sit upright in a chair with your hands next to your hips, palms down on the seat, and keep your arms straight. Without moving your arms, push down on the chair until your hips lift off the seat and your torso rises. Hold for 5 seconds. That’s 1 rep; do 2 or 3 sets of 12 reps.