Growing up, I had terrible posture. I was always the tallest girl in my class which led to the inevitable slouch that occurs when a young girl is taller than her teacher. Additionally, after I graduated from high school I began to gain weight; I was going through a very difficult time and found comfort in food. The college “freshman 15” turned into 115 pounds. My slouching became even worse due to my embarrassment over my weight. Fast forward 15 years, and I finally began to take control of my weight. I was already experiencing back problems at 33 years old. I decided that I had had enough. Long story short, through eating good, real and whole food at (much) smaller portions and exercise, I lost 120 pounds. People did compliment me on my weight loss. I certainly felt better about myself and I looked better. However, I caught a side glance at myself in a mirror one day and saw my horrible slouching self staring back at me. Here I had worked so hard to lose the weight yet I still looked slovenly, like I didn’t care about myself. It was then that I discovered Pilates. I started taking classes and I was hooked. It changed my body in a way nothing else had. I also began to see great improvement in my posture. Suddenly, people were telling me how great I looked. They told me that I looked like I’d lost even more weight (even though I hadn’t). I knew that my improved posture had made a big difference.
I notice what a difference good posture makes in others. It’s so sad for me to see an otherwise lovely young woman slouching. Alternatively, what a pleasure it is to see a woman with beautiful posture, glide down the street, a picture of elegance. I am now a Pilates instructor and part of my goal is to see improvement in my client’s postures. It makes me so happy to see a client walk in to the studio with a regal walk and to have them tell me how their back doesn’t hurt any more (slouching does more than look bad; it compresses the spine causing back pain).
How can you improve your posture? Pilates exercises will certainly help! When you strengthen your core muscles, especially the muscles closest to the spine (transverse abdominus), it will assist you with standing up straighter and taller. You can find some wonderful and free information here
With your shoulders rolled back and down your spine, imagine that you have a string coming up through the top of your head that it pulling your head up towards the ceiling. Use this visualization to practice walking when you are in private. Eventually, it will become habit and you will find yourself walking this way all of the time.
What could be more chic than a well-dressed woman with beautiful posture?
Photo of the lovely Audrey Hepburn can be found here