How to Get Better Posture in 60 Seconds

We got 3 tips from certified posture expert Dr. Weiniger.

By: Jodi Taylor
Photography: Jake Rosenberg

How many times a day do you catch yourself practically folded over your computer, working away? It’s easy to get lost in your work and not give a care in the world about how you’re sitting. But let us tell you something: There is a reason such things as standing desks and yoga ball chairs exist, and that’s to ensure that we are sitting (or standing) properly at our desks, not causing any discomfort or permanent damage to our muscles. We’re all guilty of being hunched over our computers; at Cov HQ sometimes it looks like we’re practically sleeping on our keyboards, so we figured it was time to consult an expert. We hopped on a call with certified posture expert Dr. Weiniger to get all the deets on how we can become more aware of our posture and work to strengthen and improve it. Catch y’all on the flip side, standing up straight.

 

How Do We End Up with Poor Posture?

“The problem is, because we spend so much time with a forward flexing bias—when you’re looking at a screen, typing, hunched over, sitting, your body is folding forward—the muscles in front are being worked more in a shorter position [and] the muscles in back are having to work to hold you up to keep you from folding over. They’re constantly in a lengthened position, so your body molds into that position over time.”

 

The Formula

“Posture is functional. It’s how well you’re doing—it’s like your fitness. I look at fitness not as much as improving your fitness, but as strengthening your fitness. In terms of what we would call strengthening posture or improving posture, we talk about the ACE Framework—awareness, control, and environment. And it’s not one of those, it’s all of those together.

 

Part 1: Awareness

“Being aware of your posture is the beginning of it—we invite people to take a picture of their posture. Take a picture to benchmark how you think you look when you’re standing straight against a standardized background. Put it away, save it on your phone [or] your laptop—have a folder of your posture pictures and then next year take another posture picture and compare it to see how you age. Even beginning to take that picture sets the behavior in the direction of being posture-aware and that’s why we strongly promote it. If you don’t have the awareness, nothing else is going to happen.”

 

Part 2: Control

“Take control [of] both of your life and your body, because your body is going to be doing the postural exercises. Yoga is a good postural exercise, tai chi—it’s qualitatively different than just going to the gym because you want to really be focusing on an accurate form with something [and someone] that’s correcting you to do it right. If you’re going to the gym and you’re on the treadmill, you can say ‘yep, I’m standing straight’, [but] look at how most people are walking the treadmill—almost all of them are leaning forward, so they’re training their muscles in that forward lean. They’re working cardiovascular, but they’re not working their muscles in alignment so they’re basically strengthening a functionally worse alignment, functionally weaker posture. Yoga, tai chi, Pilates are good because they focus on one piece at a time.”

 

Part 3: Environment

“The third element is your posture environment—looking at what kind of desk or chair you’re using (is an ergonomic chair good? yes, but using it intelligently; it’s not just a matter of getting [it], it’s a matter of knowing what to do with it), what kind of bed you’re sleeping on, pillows, are you sleeping on your back side or stomach? We recommend side sleeping. Walking around, if you have any kind of foot problems, having an orthotic in your shoes helps your body have a good base to stand on because posture begins with your feet. And taking a postural break during the day—checking in with your posture and checking how your body is balancing, how it’s aligning, and how it’s moving. We call that BAM.”

 

Good Posture In the End Means Less Work

“Your body, at the end of the day, is a mechanical structure that functions in the world, and it’s subject to gravity and force. It works by using energy, and energy is how everything in biology works—even though we tend to forget it sometimes. If your head is over your torso, your torso over your pelvis, and your pelvis over where your feet are on the ground, that center point, your body’s going to be more mechanical and it’s going to have to use less energy, less effort to maintain that. The more your body is out of vertical alignment, which is what people think of when they think of posture, the more muscles have to be working.”

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