Slouching has become our default posture—but it’s a prequel to long-term back, shoulder, and neck issues. Good posture, on the other hand, has the power to help you avoid these pain problems, as well as improve your digestions, reduce stress, and even gain a shot of confidence. Our guide will have you better aligned in no time—just follow along and implement as many moves as you can on a daily basis.
Health.com: 10 Ways to Have Great Posture as You Age
Week 1: Reposition
Good posture may feel awkward at first if you’ve trained your body to slump, explains Rami Said, a physical therapist at Columbia University Medical Center. Take a few moments every day to learn how correct posutre feels.
Stand taller: Evenly distribute your weight between both legs, with your feet parallel under hips and shoulder blades pressing down and back. Engage your glutes and core so your pelvis is stable beneath your ribs but not tucked under.
Sit smarter: Keep your earlobes above shoulders and shoulders above hips; allow a slight curve in the lumbar spine. Your feet shuold be flat on the floor and lower back against the chair (add a rolled-up towel if your back doesn’t touch).
Sleep straighter: Try to fall asleep on your side or back to help your spine stay more neutral.
Health.com: The Best and Worst Foods for Sleep
Week 2: Tweak your routine
“Everyday habits make maintaining good posture much trickier,” says Jill Miller, founder of Yoga Tune Up. Do this instead:
Bag it better: Heavy purse? Change the shoulder you’re carrying it on every 10 minutes.
Ditch text neck: Keep your shoulders back and head lifted when checking your phone by holding it closer to eye level.
Stay down-to-earth: If stilettos put strain on your lower back, wear them for two-hour periods and take sitting breaks.
Health.com: 6 Ways to Upgrade a Basic Squat
Week 3: Build strength
Do each of these moves daily to improve your muscle memory and overall alignment.
Shoulder stack: Every 30 minutes, bring your shoulder blades down, then back. Hold for two to three seconds. Repeat five times.
Pillow pose: Lie facedown on the floor and place a firm pillow under your abdomen. Take slow, deep breaths into the pillow for a few minutes.
Proper squat: Stand tall, feet slightly wider than hip-width, then lower into a squat. Extend your arms overhead, palms turned slightly backward to engage your upper back. Do as many 30- to 60-second squats as you can. Do not allow your spine to round or bend.