Posture is an essential component of a man’s image. All the well-fitted suits in the world won’t help you if you can’t stand up straight and command authority.
A bad alignment can not only screw up your physical health but your mental health too. A 2012 study from the Biofeedback Journal found an intimate relationship between your happiness and how straight you stand. Simply put, if your posture suffers, depression can take root.
We’ll be addressing it in three main areas: the neck, the shoulders, and the thoracic spine.
1. Fix Your Office Chair
The first step in fixing bad posture in men is addressing the workplace. Many guys work from offices with computers and chairs.
Some of us even spend additional time in the same position browsing the web and gaming. Here are a few helpful tips.
- The best way to take on this endeavor is by aligning your tools in order to engage in a way that best supports your body.
- Prioritize lumbar support for the chair, and adjust its height so you can use the keyboard with your forearms parallel to the floor.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor. If the chair is too high, see about finding a footrest. Ensure that your screen is at eye-level.
- Place the mouse as close to you as possible. A mat with a wrist cushion is a great help in preventing any unnecessary bending.
2. Go Swimming
Swimming is amazing when it comes to solid exercise because it engages your entire core, working it out evenly.
Regular swimming can be a huge help to your overall posture.
How does this correct bad posture in men? Well, for that very reason. Swimming stretches the muscles in your torso to better resemble ideal posture. Doing so repeatedly strengthens your torso.
It helps your shoulders too. Since you need to pull your shoulder blades back for the right motion, it encourages a great habit for off the pool as well.
3. Try These Exercises
While you’re out getting built, why not include some easy exercises to fix that slump? Stance and muscle growth go hand-in-hand when projecting power.
A couple of quick exercises during your workout can drastically improve your posture.
Here are two which can do just that:
- The lat hang loosens tight muscles in your chest and upper back. To do this, look for your nearest assisted pull-up bar. Rest your knees on the platform and grip the bar with both hands. It looks like a pull-up starting position, only you let your torso hang. If you feel it on your chest and armpits, you’re on the right track.
- Seated low rows loosen up your traps. Grip the handles on a seated rowing machine, pull the cable, and keep your shoulder blades as tight as you can!
4. Looking Down At Your Phone
In a Science Journal on Postures published in 2016.
Their goal was to determine a relationship between posture and respiratory function. They assessed several participants and their breathing ratios while looking down at their phones.
I won’t spend too much time on specifics, but they discovered that prolonged smartphone use could negatively affect BOTH your posture and breathing.
Make sure to keep that thing level with your head!
5. Fix Your Forward Head Posture
Forward Head Posture (FHP) is also known by a number of creative epithets like nerd neck and scholar’s neck.
Essentially, it happens when your head leans forward and your neck ends up being crooked. It’s prevalent for those of us who spend a lot of time on the computer.
Letting it go unchecked can lead to potentially serious conditions like Osteoporosis, Cervical Spine Arthritis, and continuous shoulder blade pain.
FHP also weakens most of your neck muscles, and even strain those on your upper and mid-back.
If you lean up against a wall and your head doesn’t naturally touch it, you might have FHP.
So, what are some steps you can take to improve it?
- Try massaging your SCM (Sternocleidomastoid) muscle, which are the tight bands that extend in a “V” from your collar bone. Just press two fingers to them and begin the massage.
- Start some neck flexion to stretch the back of your back neck muscles. Tuck your chin in with one hand and use the other to slowly pull your head to your chest.
6. Take Care Of Rounded Shoulders
When it comes to correcting bad posture in men, rounded “mom” shoulders are all-too-common. It describes a resting shoulder position which is abnormally forward from the body’s true alignment.
Out of the types I’ve listed, this condition more immediately affects first impressions. Fortunately, you can remedy that.
- The handclasp stretch is done by standing up straight, reaching for the sky, and clasping your hands together to establish the stretch. Gently push your shoulders back while keeping your neck straight.
- Use the door frame to stretch your chest and shoulders. Place both hands on opposite sides of the doorway just above your head height. Gently lunge forward.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together while standing up straight, holding for ten seconds at a time.
7. Fixing Spine Curvature
Kyphosis is a common issue that often affects adolescents and adults. It has to do with the abnormal development of spinal muscles, which bad posture can accelerate.
The only thing it has going for it is how simple the preventative exercises are.
- Knee rolls are done by laying on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Move your knees slowly to one side until you feel it in your back.
- With the same starting position, arch your back while keeping the upper back and butt on the floor.
- Finally, bring your knees to your chest. Repeat this five times with both legs.
8. Fix Your Diet
A crappy diet not only makes you gain weight but throws your whole body out of alignment.
It seems obvious when you think about it: Excess body fat adds to the weight your bones need to bear. This can, in turn, cause a lot of lower back pain.
You should also prioritize foods which strengthen your bones – your posture will be improved in turn. Vitamin D and calcium are great to start with.
Too much alcohol and caffeine intake are actually detrimental to bone health. They interfere with calcium absorption and can actually speed up bone loss.
Like always, watch what you eat!
9. Perfect Your Walking Technique
The way you go about the town seriously influences bad posture in men.
Harvard Medical School has some useful information on how to walk a little better.
- Stand tall – don’t hunch.
- Keep your eyes up!
- Swing your shoulders. There are studies which show this to be attractive to the ladies as well.
- Don’t put too much weight on your foot. Step lightly.
10. Get Reminders To Straighten Up
There are several apps and services up there that help you fix your posture. Some of these services take it to another level by selling small devices to stick on your back. Whenever it gets unaligned, the device vibrates to notify you.
It never hurts to set reminders for your exercises.
Google fields a number of free extensions that allow you to customize reminders. These include apps such as Limber and Posture Minder.
If you need a nudge to stay aligned, these are potentially great tools.