The benefits of good posture go way beyond making runners look good. There’s no doubt a powerful poise conveys confidence, but it also touches on many important aspects of training. Good posture increases the efficiency of movement and energy transfer on training runs. It promotes improved lung capacity and oxygen intake by opening up the chest. It can aid injury prevention by reducing the likelihood of overloading muscles and joints due to poor back and neck alignment. And in addition to making a runner appear stronger and more determined, good posture can enhance self-confidence and offer a welcome mental boost when the going gets tough.
One of the perks of working to improve running posture, particularly for runners who tend to be restless on rest days, is that it’s a form of training that can be done just about anywhere, at any time. Consider adopting one or more of these habits at home to help you stay straight and strong on your runs.
Sit and stand tall, but pick your battles
Falling squarely into the category of “easy to do, tough to master,” keeping your shoulders back, your spine straight and your chin parallel to the ground in the normal course of daily life seems simple enough. But in practice, maintaining good posture isn’t something that’s always going to be top-of-mind at home, and that’s probably for the best. There’s a time to stand tall, and a time to slouch on the couch. Rather than obsess over posture and risk being mistaken for a mannequin, choose certain times and situations where your posture will be more of a priority. Trying to be consistently mindful of posture while sitting at the table during meals, for example, while standing as you fold laundry, or even while you’re warming up your morning coffee in the microwave, can help get you in the habit of paying attention to how you hold yourself in bite-sized, manageable ways.
Lay the groundwork for success
Another way to prioritize posture in your daily routine is to set yourself up for success through your home furnishings. Investing in a mattress and pillow that provide adequate support for your body can help contribute to better posture. With working from home having become the norm during the pandemic, an ergonomic workspace can also be key to promoting better posture. When working in your home office, choose a comfortable chair that provides proper lumbar support and position your computer screen at eye level to avoid straining your neck. Or consider bringing your work-at-home game up to the next level with an adjustable standing desk. Alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day can help alleviate strain on your back and encourage better posture.
In addition to paying more attention to your posture as you engage in your ordinary home routine, consider scheduling an activity that specifically targets better body alignment. Seated meditation, yoga and Pilates are three options that offer a range of health benefits in addition to promoting good posture.