Your Guide To The Best Posture Shirt
The Allignmed Posture Shirt is perfect for correcting, maintaining, and preserving proper posture for increased mobility, range of motion, pain reduction, and enhanced performance. It is anatomically constructed with tension panels called NeuroBands that activate and stimulate specific muscle groups and joints to keep the body upright. They feature vented powerbmes panels, moisture wicking fabric, neuroband technology and anti-microbial protection. These shirts are constructed from 83% Polyester and 17% Spandex. They can be machine washed cold with like colors and air dry, do not iron them though!
I initially started wearing the shirt for a couple hours at a time. It was exhausting, physically. I would take it off and I could feel my body shifting. I kept at it, gradually working up to wearing it for about 8 hours a day. The exhaustion stopped after only a couple of days. I have now owned this shirt for exactly 1 month. I wear it almost every day. I can feel a definite change in my posture. I can SEE a change in my posture when I look in the mirror. But the best part? For the last week and a half I have been able to sleep for a full night! I have been waking up not tired for the first time in 4 years!
The shirt is mostly made of a spandex material, similar to the tight Under-Armor shirts that athletes wear. There are sections of a less flexible, web-like material running from the front armpit, over the shoulder, and coalescing into a stripe running down the middle of the back. This less flexible architecture provides the posture-correcting support and restraint. When I first put the shirt on I immediately noticed the posture correcting effect of pulling my shoulders back. I have pretty bad computer posture (forward shoulders and head, slumped rib cage), and felt that the shirt did a good job of bringing my shoulders into better alignment.
While the shirt does correct your shoulders, it does not correct a slumped rib cage (which must be corrected by tightening your Transverse Abdominus), or your forward head. But the unusual feel of the shirt can provide a reminder to conciously correct your posture. The shirt is rather tight in the armpits, and can become irritating after a while. I wore the shirt too tight to fit something underneath. I’m not sure how this could be corrected.
So overall I think the shirt is pretty good at what it claims to do. I’d love to buy a few more. The problem is that the current market price is ~$100, which I feel is just too much what it is. If the manufacturer would lower their price they’d increase their sales volume!
Significance of fixing/improving posture
When someone uses the term “posture”, it is generally believed that the person standing up straight has a perfect posture and one standing with slightly arched back has a poor one. Contrary to what is posture known for, good posture doesn’t require you to look like a stiff piece of board. Many of us overcompensate for bad posture by standing too straight, and therefore eliminate the natural curve of the spine. It mainly involves having a “neutral spine.”
A neutral spine holds three natural curves that are
(i) A small hollow at the base of the neck
(ii) A small roundness at the middle back
(iii) And last but not the least a small hollow in the lower back.
Good posture involves training your body to walk, stand, sit and lie in perfect positions; it is the posture in which the least strain is placed on your supporting muscles and ligaments during weight-bearing activities or any other movements. Our posture is correct when our ears, hips, shoulders, knees and ankles are in one straight line. The general perfect posture would look like a plumb line hanging from your earlobe. Only if your posture is right, the line would be straight to the middle of the anklebone.
We have all heard “Sit up straight!” from our moms or our elementary teachers at least once in our lifetime and believe it or not they had a legit reason for issuing these demands. Our parents and teachers were aware of the health and psychological benefits we can enjoy with proper posture, and all they were doing back there was to install the habit into our young, impressionable minds. We have probably ignored them, but we cannot deny the fact that good posture really is very important. In order to to make you aware of the benefits of good posture, below are a few key benefits of proper posture.
It improves organ function: Whenever we take a posture that is slouched forward, it makes the rib cage actually push down on our internal organs. This pushing down can cause serious digestive problems. If we have good posture, things remain nice and open for our intestines to do their work.
Reduces pain or tension in collar, shoulders, and back: Your poor posture can cause chronic pain in your upper body. In the beginning when you start to practice good posture it may feel as if you had less tension and pain when you slouched around all day. However don´t give up. Your body is in retraining phase to have the posture nature intended.
Prevents humped shoulders: Often we associate the shoulder hump only with little old ladies. However the truth is that even men can develop a “dowager’s hump.” It is a hump that develops commonly through a combination of osteoporosis and bad posture. Osteoporosis is quite common among older women, but men can also see a substantial loss of bone mass as they age. Good posture will keep the hump away from you and so does taking calcium supplements. Moreover, holding good posture while you’re young can help ease the height shrinkage that occurs in many elderly people.
Prevents “beer belly.” When we age, our metabolism slows down, and in result we store more fat in our bellies. It can be cured through proper diet and exercise, but most importantly with good posture. As already mentioned, bad posture can causes your rib cage to push down on your organ, resulting in this deformed belly shape. By sitting and standing straight, we can aid in mitigating our beer bellies. Even by practicing good posture you can take away some inches off your waist.
Increased confidence: Through many researches and studies it is proven that improved posture boosts confidence in you. So next time whenever you are about to go into a job interview or on a date, standing up a little straighter to increase your impressive swagger.
Fixing Your Posture
How your posture appears today is not a one day fault, but a result of years of activity. The stress of poor posture, over time it can change the anatomical characteristics of the spine that can lead to the possibility of constricted nerves and blood vessels, as well as problems with discs, muscles and joints. If you are a tall person, maybe you have humped to avoid attention, while sitting in class or among your fellows. A short heighted person might have done something exactly opposite i.e. overstretched himself to look taller. Both these scenarios results in a poor posture. Over time these bad habits have a long lasting impact upon how our posture shapes out. Our bodies become used to the bad posture and that is why we don’t even feel any pain or stress.
Understanding Your Posture:
The very first step toward fixing or improving your posture is by getting to know what exactly you do wrong while standing, sitting, or walking. The best approach towards understanding whether your posture is correct or not is to observe yourself carefully while you walk. Try to focus on the body movements from the head to toe. Also make a mental visual of posture and back support. A correct and fixed posture is denoted by comfortable pleasant style of walking while an unhealthy posture would look disconnected. If you are not good at observing the posture yourself, try asking someone else, it will also help.
Identify good posture:
What is called “good posture” is just nothing more than keeping your body in a straight and aligned order. While standing, you have a good posture if you have a straight back, squared shoulders, chest out, chin up and at stomach in. You have got a good posture if you can draw a straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, arms, back, hip, knee, to the middle of your ankle.
To find your good posture follow these few simple steps.
Mirror test: Stand in front of mirror and align your ears, arms, shoulders, back and hips. Align your ears loosely above your shoulders and hips. These points again make a straight line, however your spine itself will curves in a slight ‘S’. It seems complicated but you will see that that this won’t hurt at all. However if in case you experience any severe pain, then look at your side view in a mirror to see whether you’re forcing your back into an unnatural position or not. If you do not feel any pain, it means that your posture then should not be altered, as it might cause other problems.
Knowing the curves:
Your spine mainly has two natural curves that you need to uphold, they are called the ‘double C’ or ‘S’ curves, they are also known as lordotic and kyphotic. A lordotic curve is a curve present in the lumbar spine, and due to the increased angle, it is also called lordosis of the lumbar spine. The other kyphotic curve is present in the thoracic spine, however when this curve surpasses 50 degrees it is called kyphosis of the thoracic spine. Both these curves are found from the base of your head to your shoulders and the curve from the upper back to the base of the spine. Make sure that your weight is evenly distributed, when standing straight on your feet. It may feel like you are leaning forward, or looking weird, but you aren’t.
Exercises to fix your posture:
Good posture cannot be achieved without training your muscles to do the work. It is significant to follow exercises that strengthen the muscles across your upper shoulders and back, they help in fixing and improving your posture. Not always is developing a body builder physique a must, building a “muscle memory” is more important, so that you automatically and naturally maintain or correct your posture without exhaustion. You should exercise the agonist and antagonist muscles evenly, whenever you exercise. It means exercising your hamstrings as much as your quadriceps, chest as much as your upper back, and so on.
To fix your posture in general, try practicing theses simple exercises at home:
Square your posture, have an upright head, and have your ears aligned over your shoulders.
Palms up and alongside your ears raise both arms straight out.
Bend your forearms towards your shoulders, and make an effort to touch your shoulder blades with your fingertips.
Do at least ten repetitions with both arms, then do ten reps for each arm singularly.
Follow the same alignment of ears and shoulders
Raise your arms out to sides at shoulder height, then hold for a slow count of ten.
Counting to ten as you lower, slowly lower arms to the sides.
Counting to ten as you raise arms, slowly raise arms back to shoulder height.
Do two sets of ten, continually checking your alignment with each rep. If twenty reps are too much for you, then try to do as many as you can. At least a slight fatigue in the shoulder should be felt.
An interesting and simple to practice exercise is “be a penguin”. Place your elbows at your side, and touch your shoulders with your both hands. Raise both elbows (count of three) and lower them back down (count of three), while keeping your hands on your shoulders and also have your ears aligned, do as mant reps as your body allows in the comfort zone. Even 30 seconds are enough for at least ten reps.
If you have sore back or neck, then this exercise can greatly help you. If your job requires you to sit for long periods, it’s also good to do stretches during work.
Stretch or tilt your head in all four directions over your shoulders (left, right, back, forward), and massage your neck gently. However avoid rolling in a circle, to avoid further strain.
Go on your knees and hands, curl your back upwards, just like a cat, and then do the opposite. Imagine about being able to place a bowl in the hollow of your back.
Repeat these few exercises each day. Try to do them in the morning; it will help your body to stretch out the muscle weariness of sleep. It can also help to raise your energy level without a heavy workout, if done periodically throughout the day.
Yoga is a series of excellent postures, which are quite significant for your health in general. Yoga helps in improving your balance and working your core muscles, making them stronger and aiding you to keep a correct body alignment. Practicing yoga will also help you to hold an erect posture while standing, sitting and walking.
Another common way to improve your posture is to perform a wall test. Stand with your head, shoulders, arms and hips against the wall and your heels about 5-6 inches forward. Your lower abdominal muscles should be drawn in and also decrease the arch in your lower back. Push yourself away from the wall and try to maintain this vertical, upright alignment. It will be your first step towards getting a good posture.
Methods to improve your standing, sitting, walking and sleeping posture
Find your center. Alignment and balance is what it’s all about when talking about good standing posture. It will lead to confident appearance. Below are a few ways for achieving the correct upright posture:
Put your feet about shoulder width apart, it is the same posture you would use for working out or many other physical activities.
Stand up straight. It is the key to good standing posture, and should be repeated several times. As soon as you develop good posture habits, it will become your second nature.
Put your weight on the balls of your feet because if you rest on your heels, the natural tendency of your body will be to slouch. Instead try to stand on the balls of your feet. Now observe how the rest of your body follows when you rock back now, so that your weight is on your heels. It is important to note the way your entire body shifts into a slouchy posture only with this single motion.
The next step to improve your standing posture may feel unnatural at first, but keep your shoulders squared. It is another way to develop good posture.
Pull your head up and back. Imagine yourself reaching for the roof with the top of your head. Retain your head square on top of the spine and neck, as you practice it. It will not only improve your posture but also you will look taller and leaner.
Fix standing posture with support:
Stand with your back against a door or wall, with the back of your head, your butt and shoulders just touching it. If your body feels uncomfortable and awkward, don’t worry because as soon as you develop good posture habits, your body will train itself to not to feel uncomfortable standing this way.
Start with good standing posture. Standing with good posture is the initial step towards walking with good posture. Keep your head up, chest out, shoulders back, and eyes looking straight ahead and avoid pushing your head forward.
Improve sitting posture:
How often did your heard this from parents and teachers. For most of us, this suggestion got filed right next to “eat your peas,” or “your eyes will stick that way.” But in reality this is some serious business to consider. Especially, nowadays when many of us sit all day at a desk, it is important to follow these basic guidelines, both for your health and for your posture. If you work at a desk for long hours and have the choice, use a chair that’s designed ergonomically for proper support and designed for your weight and height. You can even use a small pillow for lumbar support, if this is not an option. Align your back with the back of the office chair. It will help you avoid leaning forward or slouching, because this is something you may find yourself doing after sitting too long at your desk.
As with standing posture, you should keep your shoulders straight and squared, head upright, and your collar bones, back and feet aligned. Follow a two-step simple desk exercise to fix your posture.
Keep your feet on the ground or footrest (incase your legs don’t reach ground)
Adjust your position and your chair so that your arms are not straight out but flexed. Target for about a 75- to 90-degree angle at the elbows. Remember that if they are too straight, then you’re too far back, but if they are more than 90 degrees, it means that you’re either sitting too close, or maybe you’re slouching.
Take standing breaks:
Even if you believe that you’re using perfect posture, while sitting on the most expensive chair in the world (although cost has nothing to do with comfort, in this case) you still need to stand up and stretch, do a little exercise, walk around or just stand there for a some time. Your body is not at all designed to sit all day, and several recent studies have found that sitting for a long time is a risk factor for many diseases and conditions. Therefore keep moving!
Good posture is not only recommended for good postures sake, but it’s also important for more real-world safety concerns. Your cars protective and seating systems were designed for people sitting in the seat correctly, and can actually have an influence on safety in the incident of a collision.
Keep your back against the seat and head against the headrest.
Correct your seat to uphold a proper distance from the steering wheel and pedal. If you’re inclined forward, reaching for the wheel or pointing your toes, you’re too far away. And also if you are bunched up with your chin on top of the steering wheel, it means that you’re too close.
Adjust the head rest: It is important that your head rest is properly adjusted. Tilt the head rest as needed, in order to maintain a space of no more than four inches (10cm) among the back of your head and the head rest.
Sleep soundly: You can’t always maintain a proper posture while sleeping, but there are still some things you can do. By using a firmer mattress, you can maintain proper back support. Sleeping on your back will aid in keeping your shoulders straight, and it is commonly more comfortable for your back than sleeping on the stomach.
If you choose to sleep on your side, than add a small, flat pillow between your knees, it will help in keeping your spine aligned and straight.
Add a pillow to provide proper alignment and support for the shoulders and head. Never ever overdo the pillows; it can make your head bent in an unnatural position. It will also hurt your posture and you’ll wake up feeling sore, stiff and groggy.
Maintaining Good Posture
Maintaining good posture guarantees that the joints of the body are in the maximum ideal position to accept any kind of strain. Practicing resistance exercise when our joints are not in correct alignment can lead to increased wear and tear and stress to the joints and other surrounding tissues that can lead to damage. The significance of good posture during workouts and exercises will help one to activate the targeted muscle group better and aid in reducing the risk of injury.
Train Your Core Muscles:
Stay in shape: In order to keep your entire musculoskeletal system in a way to support your posture, it’s vital to keep yourself in shape.
Below are few tips you should try:
With your feet fixed to almost ninety degrees at the knee, Lie on your back and your feet on the ground.
Pull your belly-button near your spine and hold it at the end. It is a unlike crunches, as they will make you feels like it is more inwards and towards your back.
Hold the position for about ten seconds; Repeat it daily for about eight times.
It is quite important that you maintain the proper posture, even if you are getting fatigued and are not using other muscles like your butt or back muscles. Breathe normally during this exercise, when you are training your core to be able to uphold this position during regular activities in daily life.
Avoid unintentional back injury: Carrying and lifting presents extra balance and load problems that are not part of your everyday, normal physical structure. Carrying or lifting objects without regard to your physiology can cause pain, discomfort or in some cases, serious injury. Below are few guidelines for proper load-bearing posture:
If you’re lifting something from the ground even a little heavier than the weight of your cat, then always bend at the knees, not the waist. It is because your back muscles are not designed for enduring that much weight, however your large leg and stomach muscles are. Hence use them well. If a lot of heavy lifting is part of your daily routine, either as part of weight training or as part of your job, then try wearing a supportive belt. It can be very helpful in maintaining good posture while lifting.
Keep it tight: The closer you keep heavy or large objects to your chest, it means that you are using your lower back less when carrying them. Instead, the work is done with your chest, arms and upper back.
Attempt holding a five pound (2.26kg) sack of flour; keep holding it far out in front of you. Slowly pull it closer to your chest and you will feel the different muscle groups come into play as you do this. Balance the load to prevent fatigue and stress. For example, If you’re carrying a heavy suitcase, change arms frequently and your body will be the first one to tell you when.
Other Helpful Ways to Improve Posture:
Think string: Imagine always that there is a string coming from the top of your head and it is pulling you gently up towards the ceiling. Imagining practices like this one can monitor your sense of proper position and height efficiently.
Tape method: Ask someone to tape a giant X on your back from one shoulder to your opposite hip. Also put a straight line of tape across your shoulders near the top of the X. Try to wear this during the day, it will help in retraining your back. It will work well if you hold shoulders back before taping, practice wide non stretch tape and preferably change tape each day. If you don’t hold proper posture the tape will just come off.
Avoid the slouch when walking: Make sure that you try to walk as if you had a book placed on your head.