I’m a sloucher. (There, I said it.) I spend hours a day hunched over my work keyboard writing and editing articles. Besides the fact that I feel like I am starting to look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame (rounded shoulders and a forward lurching head aren’t very sexy!), sometimes as I’m typing away, I get a little bit cranky. Luckily, I discovered an easy little trick to temper my mood: sitting up straight!
Not only is it better for my posture, but also according to recent research published in the journal Health Psychology, folks who did just that experienced fewer negative emotions and more positive ones when compared to those who sat slumped over in their chairs. Bonus: Better posture was also associated with higher self-esteem.
Since sitting up straight is easier said than done (at least for me), when I park my rear nowadays, I try and remember to follow the advice of Catherine Cuzzone, co-owner of the United States Pilates Association: Imagine a string tied to the crown of your head pulling you upward; Your head should be centered over your body. To further squelch the slouch, I’ve also begun ending (some) of my days with this posture-building yoga series from Kristin McGee, Health’s contributing yoga and wellness editor. Aim to do the sequence 6 to 8 times, 3 to 4 times a week.
Here’s hoping we’re all sitting a little taller next week!
RAISED MOUNTAIN POSEStand tall with arms at your sides, feet together. Inhale deeply, brace your core, and rise up onto your toes. Exhale slowly.
RAISED SQUATInhale and, keeping heels lifted, slowly lower yourself; raise arms so they are parallel to the floor at shoulder height, palms down. Go as far as you can while maintaining good posture. Exhale and press back up.HIGH PLANKInhale and step into plank, arms shoulder-width and feet together. Engage your core while squeezing an imaginary grapefruit between your shoulder blades. Exhale.
OUT-IN PLANKInhale and, maintaining one strong line, step your right foot out 6 to 8 inches, and then your left. Exhale and step back in with your right foot, followed by your left.
SIDE PLANKInhale and lift your right arm toward the ceiling as you roll back so you're balancing on your left arm and stacked feet. Exhale and gaze up at your right hand, keeping core braced. Hold for 5 breaths.
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