The Only Posture “Trick” That Kinda Works

Illustrated by Gabriela Alford.
My seated posture is horrendous. I don't know why. I mean, I have some guesses, and they all kick back to not enough core strength and a lack of diversity in my gym activities, but I prefer to stick with "I'm likely being unfairly punished by some greater force." And it's annoying, because I have excellent standing posture. I'm a good presenter. I'm proficient at standing in heels (for a very limited amount of time, but still). And then, I sit down at my desk for 1,000 hours a day and it all goes to shit. I worry it undermines my ability to project authority to casual passers-by. And worse still, it causes me a lot of upper back pain and some occasional pinched nerves and spasms.
So when I make life-improvement goals on birthdays, New Year's, or other milestone moments, you can bet they have something to do with posture improvement. To make that dream a reality, I've tried a small device that buzzes when you move out of your ideal posture position. It didn't work all that well, seemed to buzz at fairly arbitrary times, and eventually, it broke and I couldn't charge it anymore. Plus, what I really wanted was a little device that gave me a small electric shock, not a tiny little buzzer that wouldn't stay put on my clothes. I've also tried calendar reminders titled "Posture Please" and Post-It notes that remind me to "Sit up straight! Now!!" Except after a while, you become blind to the reminders. Or at least I always do. Then, I looked into long-sleeve shirts with posture-enhancing bands built in. But they hurt a little bit and they don't really work with my work wardrobe (projecting authority and looking the part at the office are a big part of my goals in posture-fixing).
Recently, I found a workaround. The best one yet. It's a (pricey) sports bra that looks surprisingly cool (meaning if I were a person who wore crop tops in public, I would consider wearing it with a high-waisted skirt and nothing else). It's invisible under most of my clothes and the sheer panels in the back are actually kind of interesting when they peek through party-in-the back dresses. But more importantly, it does make me sit up taller. It's not a magic cure-all, but here's what it does accomplish: The stretchy bands around the arm holes pull my shoulders back, so my default slouch is just a little bit less slouchy. And even more impactful is the stiffness of the fabric. It works like a constant calendar reminder that keeps me focused on tightening my core and sitting up straighter. Plus, when I do remember to activate my core, it feels a little easier to lift into the correct posture, because of those aforementioned bands around the arms, and the pull of the tight fabric along my upper back. The main problem here is that I'm not as comfortable re-wearing the sports bra three or so days between wears, the way I do with a normal bra. It touches so much of my skin, it likely requires more consistent washing. I guess I could buy more, but in the meantime, I'm just wearing the sports bra occasionally and thinking about other ways I could improve my posture. Next stop: The 10-day posture challenge. And maybe an ab challenge, too, to get to the root of my problem. Bonus: Intelliskin is offering a discount on this sports bra to R29 readers. Get 15% off the Essential Bra 2.0 with the code: 4WOMEN.

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