“Sit up straight!” my mum used to (still does) say when she would find me slouched over. Look around you (if you’re around people…if not, look at yourself) and see how many people are slouching. Either their neck is hooked down, their shoulders are scrunched up, or there’s a severe bend in their upper back. It’s scary. And I believe it’s more and more prevalent in today’s world with today’s technology and especially today’s generation (though it’s starting to spread to everyone). I always ask my clients if they think they have good posture when I start out with them. Most of them think they do, until they start training with me when they realize they slouch without knowing it.
Do you ever see any slouching in Downton Abbey characters? I didn’t think so. Can you imagine Lady Grantham hunched over her plate of delicate decadence? Yeah right. That’s where my etiquette school title is coming from. I am in no way urging women going to do the “feminine arts” like stitching, cooking, etc., but instead for all of us to try to sit up straight and find some pride in our posture. You know that those in etiquette school would’ve had fingers shoved in their backs until they sat up straight. You don’t see many pictures of older times with people slouching.
So what are the causes of this?
1. Increased sitting. Definitely. Many people have office jobs where they are sitting for at least 6 hours. Think of what that does to your poor lower back! No wonder it doesn’t want to support you anymore. It’s worn out from you slumped over your desk and computer all day.
2. Technology. Tied in with the former, what if you didn’t have a computer to slouch over? Ironic, perhaps, because you are reading this on some form of technology, but anyways. Technology is our 24/7 life nowadays. That sense of panic when your phone is far away? Yeah, that’s real and that’s scary. Computers cause us to hunch over in our chairs in order to see better, type better, and feel more comfortable (but only short-term). Smart phones cause us to always look down. Can you imagine what that’s going to do to our necks in 20 years? Yikes.
3. Lack of–well–etiquette. In the olden days, it was considered rude, un-ladylike or gentleman-like to slouch over in such a way. It was considered good manners to stand up or sit up straight, look people in the eye, and take pride in their posture. Times have changed, obviously. For the better and for the worse. People no longer pay mind to their posture. There’s always this pelvic and neck tilt forwards. Our poor bodies!
4. Lack of core strength. This is a big one and it ties in with #1. Not all of us have good core activation or strength. This causes our lower back to be weak and not able to support us when we sit for long periods of time. Our core is our foundation, if this is weak, the rest crumbles. There’s not much more to be said. Without a strong core, your posture will fail.
I’m not standing up straight or bringing my shoulders back!
Alright alright, so we get why it’s gotten so bad, but how can we fix it?! Here are a few solutions:
1. Get a stability ball. If you have a desk job, do yourself a favor and get one of these. Not only is it incredibly fun, but you have to activate your core to stay upright! If your boss won’t let you have one, ask them if they’ll pay for your medical bills for your injured back. 😉
2. Put that phone down. Seriously, come on, just leave it alone. Not only will it have physical benefits, but it will have mental and social benefits too! Do you know how rude it is to text while someone’s talking to you? Do you know how crowded your brain feels because it’s always going down to check the latest ping? Enough. Let it go for a bit. And if you really can’t, then at least bring it up to eye level so your neck isn’t hanging down and your shoulders aren’t slumped.
3. Start strength training. This may sound strange, but my posture has gotten much better since building a strong, muscular body. When you strength train, you always need to keep your shoulders back which inevitably corrects your posture. Your body works at its best when it’s upright and alert, and that’s what strength training does. If nothing else, remember to pull your shoulders back and you will find your neck coming back as well.
4. Don’t copy the media. Models nowadays have this slumped, pelvic forward tilt look. This is bringing your body out of alignment by pressing your lower back forward and ruining the integrity of your core. It may be the new sexy cool look, but your back certainly doesn’t think so.
Hungry & Fit standing tall and proud!
So stand up straight! Pull those shoulders out. Be strong. It’s sexy! Don’t be a frumpy slumpy. You’ll develop bad posture that may lead to osteoporosis and bad curvature in your spine. You may not need to go to etiquette school if you follow these tips! Sit up straight to stay hungry and fit!