How do you improve your posture ?
Degrading posture is a global predicament, resulting in dis-ease and disease in some individuals. There has been a significant advancement in the fitness and health industry, explaining what results in degradation of the posture and how you can address this. Even with these advancements, many people are still in physical discomfort and pain and struggle with day-to-day tasks.
I have been in the fitness industry for over a decade and have worked thousands of hours helping people move better and gain postural control. In this time, I have noticed a common denominator that gets ignored by most and is low-hanging fruit.
Pain is your body's feedback mechanism; this is how your body tells you alignment/function is off, and I wouldn't say I like it. This usually leaves people with few options, pop a pill, see a doctor, or deal with it yourself. Understanding pain is essential to overcome it, or what I commonly tell my clients " Learn from it." I am a prominent endorser of self-work to take good care of your body; if you know how to use tools like foam rolling, exercises, and even meditation, it is a great way to understand the pain cycle. Sometimes you have to see a doctor if the pain is severe, and physio ends up a logical route followed by strength work. Although, medicating with pain killers and not addressing the issue or even attempting to understand the problem is an excellent way to ensure that dysfunction will plague you for life, with varying intensities.
Now going to what is this low-hanging fruit? It's straightforward, your "attention." Your body is in a constant state of bettering itself so that you can move with the least amount of effort for energy conservation, aka efficiency. This adaptation feature gives sitting a lousy reputation when it's not the sitting, but lack of attention to how you sit is an issue. Sounds simple right? Then why aren't people paying attention to their posture? Because it's hard to maintain a good posture when you have adapted to a dysfunctional posture.
So please answer the question How do we improve our posture? It comes down to our application of all the available tools. Whether it is foam rolling, core training, functional training, manual therapies, meditation, or just plain cardio, these are many tools accessible to us that allow us to improve our ability to apply good posture. By consistently working on mobility and strength, you improve your body's movement ability and are better equipped for the secret ingredient, "paying attention to your posture."
So next time you hold a plank or squat in the gym, think of how this can help me improve my sitting. You can apply this mindset to any or all exercises you are engaging in, and this is what the purpose of exercising is to make your move better. Unless you apply that mindset, your body's adaptive feature will stay on autopilot. Make your movement evolution, conscious.