Straighten me out!
February 8, 2008 6:39 AM   Subscribe

How do I straighten up my back?

I'm rather tall (6'5"/194cm), and living in Japan makes me that much taller. I feel like my midsection is slowly collapsing. Has anyone any suggestions for improving my posture? I try to sit up when I think of it, but 5 minutes later I realize I'm hunched over again, and so on...
I'm looking for something rather inexpensive. I know I could buy one of those kneeling chairs, but I'm looking for something simpler. Does anybody have any experience with products from this company? Ot know of some good exercises? Or have any other suggestions, based on their own success stories?
posted by segatakai to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to try out the Alexander Technique. Here are two teachers in Japan.

I have done some Alexander Technique training, and I thought it was very helpful. Come to think of it, I could use a refresher.

Basically, it encourages you to notice your posture/way of standing/way of sitting and doing lots of things, but in a way that makes sense. Sounds like just what you need.

Sessions (at least in the US) can be expensive, but it's an investment in yourself that can last your whole life. It's really good for voice production, too, which can be surprisingly important in just about any endeavor.

Also -- are you getting exercise? I know I tend to have better posture when I feel better.
posted by amtho at 6:53 AM on February 8, 2008

make a conscious effort to suck in your stomach and keep your abs tensed for as much of the day as possible. stronger abs in general should help support good posture.
posted by buka at 6:54 AM on February 8, 2008

Egoscue Method. . Should be lots of free stretching routines you can do to help straighten yourself out, or for $50 or so you can get a personalized "menu' of exercises.

I used these guys in the past to help cure my IT band pain when I run - they basically look at where your posture is out of balance and prescribe the appropriate stretches to help get you re-aligned. Worth every penny IMO.
posted by PFL at 7:21 AM on February 8, 2008

Egoscue website is
posted by PFL at 7:22 AM on February 8, 2008

Try a yoga stretching class. Seriously.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:51 AM on February 8, 2008

If you're open to weight and strength training, that really did wonders for my posture. Over the course of like, two years... but still. Getting in awesome shape AND having awesome posture?

Something to consider.

One of the best things you can do for your posture is to solidify everything in your core, especially your abdominal wall and spinal erectors (lots of crunches, leg lifts, deadlifts, squats..)
posted by crunch buttsteak at 7:57 AM on February 8, 2008

I found that doing Tai Chi did incredible things for my back. Even just the simple beginning exercises, the Chi Kung, which are just repeated motions, are very good. The purpose of Tai Chi is to create softness in the joints and spread the bones apart so that they move correctly. This is especially good for the back, which tends to get compacted; the vertebrae in your lower back end up all jammed together. Tai Chi put more space and more softness there for me.

That's what I recommend. It's pretty cheap, too; if you want, you can just do it in front of your computer via YouTube. There are plenty of great videos of people doing Tai Chi there; just imitate the motions they do, and you can learn yourself.
posted by koeselitz at 8:10 AM on February 8, 2008

Yeah I've never done yoga (which I hear is great for your back) but I'll second crunch buttsteak's suggestion of strength training. It has done wonders for my back, I basically don't get back pain any more. Like crunch buttsteak suggested it does take some time though...
posted by ob at 8:21 AM on February 8, 2008

Seconding Alexander Technique, which, unless you've been hunched for long enough to develop a physiological curvature in your spine, was designed really quite specifically for this kind of thing...
posted by benzo8 at 8:26 AM on February 8, 2008

Here's a collection of exercises. I've been meaning to work these into my daily routine.
posted by Shebear at 8:32 AM on February 8, 2008 [2 favorites]

Seconding yoga. Ever since my first class my posture has been a little straighter and I've noticed myself sitting, standing and walking with my shoulders back without even meaning to. Besides which, it just feels awesome, yoga does.
posted by brina at 10:47 AM on February 8, 2008

Neanderthal no more is probably what you want. It's inexpensive in the sense that all you need is a gym membership, but it's probably going to require a bit of a time commitment. In essence it's a strength training program that aims to adjust your posture. I've been doing some exercises from this program and there's a definite improvement.
posted by aeighty at 11:47 AM on February 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

nthing Egoscue, also any book by Aaron Mattes -

Change your body so you don't have to rely on conscious remembering.
posted by zeek321 at 12:16 PM on February 8, 2008

You might want to look at the PostureJac. It isn't that expensive and it employs a lot of Alexander technique to strengthen stretch and mobilize muscles that keep you erect.

It is sold in Canada and overseas shipping might be on the expensive side unless you ship it by parcel post. Check out the website

I think it is very important that you as a tall person take corrective action. The old saying, the bigger they are, the harder they fall could apply here.
posted by ayjay at 8:31 PM on March 19, 2008

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