How to Improve Posture for Men
Wondering how to improve posture for men? We reveal the healthy habits that will stand you in good stead.
It seems like everyone and their chiropractor is talking about good posture these days. Along with exercise and nutrition, posture is fast becoming the third pillar in our personal wellness toolkit. The truth is it always has been – only now are we starting to take it seriously.
It’s Every Man for His Health
Here are 6 reasons good posture is more than just the latest buzzword:
1. It keeps organs in perfect harmony
Ever experienced the misery of acid reflux, heartburn, or constipation? Believe it or not, all three could be connected to poor posture. Think about it. When we slouch forward, we’re compressing our internal organs into our abdomen like an overstuffed suitcase. The best way to aid digestion and keep things moving along is through correct body alignment.
If further incentive is needed, researchers have found that when we sit for longer than 20 minutes, our muscle tissue starts to conform to our posture. All the more reason to make sure we’re poised for success.
2. It relieves upper-body tension & pain
Newcomers to the world of posture training often experience aches and pains when starting out. This is to be expected as they’re resetting their body to its natural state, engaging muscle groups that probably haven’t seen much activity in a while. But that burn they’re feeling just means that their new posture is taking shape and they’re building muscle memory. After a week of training, even chronic upper-body pain should subside, making upright posture far more comfortable.
3. It increases brain function & concentration
With so many distractions in our lives, at times it can be hard to concentrate on the task at hand. This is especially true when our body is hunched over as we’re restricting the flow of oxygen to our brain. It stands to reason that the more relaxed and successful we feel, the better equipped we are to solve problems. A study by Colorado College found that male students with the best sitting posture significantly outperformed those who slouched in exams. Gives new meaning to straight-A student!
4. It prevents overly rounded shoulders
When I say the word osteoporosis, what comes to mind? You’re picturing a little old lady hunched over a granny cart, aren’t you? While loss of bone density is more common in older women, it’s wrong to assume that it doesn’t affect older men too. Bad posture only exacerbates the condition, often resulting in an unsightly shoulder hump that makes you look 100 years old. The bottom line is if you don’t start taking better care of your posture, hump day could be coming around a lot sooner than next Wednesday!
5. It makes you appear taller & slimmer
As mentioned above, things happen to our bodies as we get older – and they’re not all pretty. Bones shrink, our metabolism slows, and fat gathers around our waist. While none of us want to speed up the aging process, many young men walk around an inch shorter than they really are due to poor posture. By simply bringing your spine into neutral alignment, you can stave off the height loss that occurs in many elderly people.
Practicing good posture can also help mitigate your beer belly, taking inches off your waist. Gents, I’m not talking about sucking in your gut whenever a beautiful woman walks by; maintaining healthy posture is a mindset, a way of life. A few sit-ups wouldn’t hurt either (just sayin’).
6. It’s a natural confidence booster
You’d be forgiven for thinking that achieving the perfect beach bod is a way more manly pursuit than correcting body alignment. But what’s the point in having a great physique if it’s hidden from the world by a closed-off posture? Even if you aren’t built like a Greek god, upright posture can at least give you the appearance of one. By simply carrying yourself with pride, you project the confidence necessary to succeed in your personal and professional relationships. Oh and FYI, perfect body alignment is totally something to be proud of.
Knowing Upright from Wrong
Learning to walk was one of the first big milestones in our young lives. The problem is no one ever really taught us what to do once we got there. For the most part, we were left alone to figure out how to stand, sit, and move around, allowing us to develop some pretty unhealthy habits along the way.
Well, get ready because once you discover how to improve posture for men, all of that will change!
Most people think that correct posture means standing with their pelvis tilted backward or forward in an exaggerated manner. They may crane their neck forward or over-straighten it, which can cause serious damage.
As a rule of thumb, your pelvis should be in line with your ribcage, your head comfortably balanced atop your spine. Remember, you want to avoid pulling or pushing your body in any direction that feels unnatural. Doing so can have an adverse effect on your posture and breathing, and make you look ill at ease.
To check if you’re doing it right, stand with your back against the wall, abs tucked in, and head facing forward. If the back of your head and shoulder blades are touching the wall, you’ve got this.
Okay, we’re all guilty of this one. Perching on the edge of our seat, awkwardly leaning forward to get a better look at our screen. Or perhaps you’re more of a backward sloucher, pelvis tilted forward, back at a 45-degree angle. Either way, your sitting posture could use some fine-tuning.
It all starts with your workstation setup. Ergonomic chairs are a great way to keep your spine supported throughout the day thanks to their contoured design. Equally important is the height of your computer monitor, which should be at eye-level. Ideally, you want to be sitting close enough to your desk so that you’re not putting unnecessary strain on your neck.
How to Not Suck at Posture
If you’ve read this far, you must be serious about learning how to improve posture for men. To help you achieve your #posturegoals, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite exercises. You’re welcome!
Get down on the floor as if you’re about to do a push-up, forming a straight line with your back. Hold that pose for 30 seconds to 2 minutes (or however long you can manage).
You can do this one using any sturdy horizontal bar. Start with your hands slightly wider apart than your shoulders, palms facing away from your body. Lift yourself off the ground and lower yourself back down in a smooth, controlled motion, all the while focusing on squeezing your shoulder blades together. It’s a super-challenging exercise, so don’t be surprised if you can only manage a few pull-ups to begin with.
Stand with your back flush against the wall. Raise your arms bending them slightly at the elbows so that your head and arms form a ‘W’ shape. Keeping your hands against the wall, gently slide your arms up into a ‘Y’ shape and then back down again. Repeat this 10 times, resisting the urge to sing “It’s fun to stay at the YMCA”.