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10 Simple Ways To Fix Your Posture In 15 Minutes

10 Simple Ways To Fix Your Posture In 15 Minutes

Years ago a good friend of mine was a Navy rescue diver (AIRR – aviation rescue swimmer). He still maintains a military posture without even thinking about it. He has had people he doesn’t know come up and ask him what branch he served in. They can tell by his stance and posture that he was in the military. For years I have had this unscientific theory that if I keep my back straight and my head above my shoulders I won’t get a curved spine. I think we all know there are many reasons to maintain a good posture.

According to Livestrong.com, “Proper posture is important for a number of reasons, including that it places your body in an alignment where the stress on supporting ligaments, tendons and muscles is limited. Poor posture can lead to discomfort and injury.”

We all lead busy, active lives and are looking for ways to simplify wherever we can. Here are ten simple ways to fix your posture.

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1. Look in the mirror

An article from Today Health & Wellness suggests looking in a mirror and seeing if your palms are facing your thighs with your thumbs pointing ahead. If so, this indicates good posture. Also, if you pull your head back and move your shoulders down and back, it might feel like you are sticking your chest out, but you are fixing your posture.

2. Strengthen your core

According to the article 6 Easy Workout Moves That Can Help Improve Your Posture, “Exercises that strengthen your core are especially important in encouraging good posture. These muscles move the torso by flexing, extending, or rotating your spine.”

You may already have your own favorite exercises to strengthen your core, but the next few points might offer new ideas for you.

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3. Try Yoga

One of my favorite online instructors is Yoga with Adriene. Try this very effective, feel good, short yoga workout Yoga At Your Desk. It’s only six minutes and so beneficial. An added bonus is that the video is only instrumental with words written on the screen. So, hopefully you won’t be bothering any coworkers.

4. Get your squats in

Harvard Health Publications offers these steps on how to do squats correctly. 1) Knees, hips, and toes are pointed forward. 2) Buttocks stay above knee level. 3) Knees aren’t extending beyond toes. 4) Chest is lifted, and shoulders are down and back. 5) Back is neutral, not arched. 6) Feet and knees are pointing straight ahead. 7) Shoulders, hips, and knees are even. 8) Abdominal muscles are pulled in.

5. Do your planks

Sit ups and crunches are out and planks are in. The same article from Harvard Health Publications offers these instructions for effective planks. 1) Abdominal muscles are tight. 2) Shoulders are aligned directly over the elbows. 3) Body is properly aligned so that neck and spine are neutral. Gaze looking down at the floor. 4) Shoulders are down and back. 5) Only toes, forearms, and hands are touching the floor.

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6. Give pilates a try

There are all kinds of videos and articles out there about pilates. I found this short video Beginner Pilates Exercises: Roll UpIt’s a good place to start.

7. Check your vertical line

Whether you are sitting or standing, check your body’s vertical line. Are your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned? Is your body in a vertical line? Check this every time you think of it, and your body will thank you.

8. Check in with your attitude

When we are in a good mood and feeling confident, we have a tendency to stand tall and proud. When we are having one of those days when things seem hard and are mental outlook isn’t so hot, we have a tendency to slump. Our hunched over shoulders tell the world our story, or at least what kind of day we are having.

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9. The old balloon trick

Most of us probably remember being told this: Pretend there is a sting coming out of the middle of the top of your head with a balloon attached to it. Visualize it pulling your head up. This helps you stand up tall and correct your posture.

10. Get up and move

When we sit for any period of time, our bodies relax and are posture does too. Very quickly our shoulders can become slumped and our backs curved. Set a timer on your watch or get a fitness gadget. (I love my fitbit!) Get moving every 15-30 minutes. Moving will get your muscles in action and hopefully your mind as well, reminding you to employ one of the ideas listed above.

Good Luck!

Featured photo credit: Flannel Zen/Zach Dischner via flickr.com

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Tomi Rues

Adjunct college teacher, notebook/journal designer, author

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Published on February 14, 2019

15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

Starting such a journey is never easy and you must remember this is not a crash diet, it is a lifestyle. Don’t panic and think you have to do it all at once as this will most likely overwhelm you. You may also find yourself giving up because crash diet are not sustainable.

The best approach is to make simple changes to your daily habits and over time, you will notice all your bad habits have turned into good habits.

Accordingly to a study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.[1] And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.

Here are 15 fitness goals to help you on your journey:

1. Drink More Water

W.H.Auden said it best when he said ‘Thousands Have Lived Without Love, Not One Without Water’. With any diet, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking water will support your body with digestion, transporting nutrition to your body and even help improve cognitive function.

Ideally, you want to drink about half your body weight in ounces per day i.e. if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day.

Hopefully, by following this rule, you will be able to maintain a consistent consumption of water per day.

2. Add Some Lemon & Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Water

It is recommended we sleep for about 8 hours a day, this means we spend about 8 hours per day dehydrated. Therefore, hydrating your body first thing in the morning is absolutely necessary.

The best way to achieve hydration is by starting your day with a glass or even two of water. For that extra boost, add lemon juice and ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar will help your body with detoxifying, cleansing and digestion

3. Stop Drinking Your Calories

Yes, keeping hydrated is important but try to avoid high calorie drinks such as soft drinks, speciality coffee and juices as they are full of fast acting sugar.

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Really push yourself to stop drinking such drinks and before you know it, you will notice the benefits.

4. Start Stretching More Often

Always remember to stretch! The benefits are vast and the repercussions of failing to stretch can be dramatic.

Do yourself a favour and always stretch before and after a workout. This will promote a healthy cool down, improve flexibility and reduce next day aches. Failure to stretch can lead to injures and muscle damage.

So, the next time you work out, don’t forget you dedicate a few minutes to stretching before and after your workout. You will thank me for it later!

Here’re some simple stretching exercises you can start trying:

15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

5. Add in Some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

You may have heard about HIIT training because it is the big thing right now and believe me when I say ‘It works!’.

The benefits include lower body fat, increased stamina, leaner muscles and fantastic hormonal benefits.

HIIT is where you perform an intense exercise, for a very short time frame (about 30 seconds) followed by a slower exercise for about 90 seconds.

Performing a HIIT routine for 1-3 times a week will lead to great results.

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6. Focus on Your Breathing When You Work Out

For the most part, breathing is second nature to most of us. But when exercising, you may find yourself holding your breath and this is not good.

It is important to consciously take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, this will fill your lungs with oxygen.

7. Build More Lean Muscle

We all want to have lean muscles because not only does it look good, it has great health benefits:

  • Improved posture
  • Reduced body fat
  • Improved metabolism
  • Strong bones
  • Protects and improves joint health
  • Improves stamina

Learn more about building muscle in this guide:

How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

8. Decrease Body Fat

This may seem like an obvious one but it is one of the most important steps to a healthier you. Reducing your body fat has a lot of benefits such as:

  • Improved joints and tendons
  • Lowered risk of diabetes
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Better performance and endurance
  • Improved appearance and confidence
  • Better hormonal profiles in your body

Remember, it is not a race to see how quickly you can decrease your body fat, a healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds a week.[2]

Crash dieting or pushing yourself too much in the gym can lead to you achieving an unrealistic target, and you may find yourself gaining all the weight you have lost.

Think of it as a lifestyle and take it slow and steady.

9. Eat More Greens

What you eat is the most important factor in a healthier living plan. It is important to ensure you are getting as many nutrients and vitamins from the food you are eating as possible.

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Focus on dark, leafy greens as they will provide you with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants – all of which you body needs!

Don’t forget to avoid processed and manufactured food. They are usually high in fat and have minimal vitamins.

10. Start Eliminating Sugar

Another top goal you can start immediately is reducing the amount of sugar you consume. It also won’t cost you anything, save you money and improve your health in the long run.

There’s no surprise we eat too much sugar and this should be one of your top goals moving forward (eliminating or drastically reducing sugar).

Cutting out liquid calories is a great way to start. If you’re looking for something sweet, turn to fruits or even dark chocolate.

11. Allow Yourself to Rest and Recovery

The workout is where you go to breakdown the muscle tissue and it builds back through proper nutrition, rest and recovery. It might be tempting to go to the gym for two hours every day as hard as you can to achieve your goals but that’s not the most effective approach.

If you don’t allow for proper rest and recovery, it can set you back a few steps. Your body is more prone to injury and even illness as you can weaken your immune system from all the progressive intensity the body is facing.

12. Get More Sleep

When you are deprived of sleep, you make it next to impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals. Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones in your body and over time these can lead to a lot of inflammation and chronic diseases.[3]

Make sleep a priority to let your body heal and rejuvenate. A good approach is 7 to 8 hours. Also, allow yourself some wind-down time and a pre-bed routine to help get more consistent sleep every night.

13. Focus on the Habit and Not the Result

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve a certain look or shed time off of your mile, but the more important focus is on the habit that will bring you those goals.

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Don’t look at the scale, the tape measure, or the body fat percentage. Focus on the habits that will lead to those achievements.

Don’t compare yourself to where others are, you’re right where you need to be.

14. Take Your Fitness Outside

This may be hard depending on the weather you experience, but the more you can be outside exposed to fresh air and sunlight, the better.

Being stuck in the gym doing cardio while staring at a wall won’t do much for your mental stimulation.

Try to challenge your body more by getting outside. Hiking is great and also just running and walking. Give yourself more mental stimulation and a constantly changing environment. It also beats breathing in that recycled gym air.

15. Do at Least One Pull Up

This is a great last goal to focus on because it’s a great test of strength and to see how you are progressing with your fitness.

If you haven’t been able to do one, you know what a challenge it can be. Having the goal of doing at least one pull up will not only show you how far you’ve progressed but is a great way to become dedicated and motivated.

The Bottom Line

It will become more attainable through the year if you’re consistent with your fitness. Set yourself a concrete timeline as when you want to accomplish some or all of these goals. In fact, start making one of these goals happen this month!

This guide on achieving goals will be helpful for you:

How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully

Featured photo credit: ivan Torres via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Phillippa Lally: How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world
[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
[3] Unity Point: The Scary Truth About Sleep Deprivation and Chronic Diseases

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