Fixing Improper Posture With…Suspenders??

Lockdown has forced a lot of people to start thinking inwardly. For me, it has resulted in figuring out ways, teeny tiny ways, I can gradually improve my own health. In addition to intermittent fasting, going barefoot whenever possible, and opting for the floor over the sofa, I’ve also seen the light when it comes to suspenders vs. belts

In addition to keeping my kishkes unsquished, wearing suspenders has dramatically improved my posture in a way I didn’t fully understand until recently. 

A Downside Becomes An Upside

For the most part, choosing to keep my pants up with suspenders instead of belts has been nothing but positive. My guts don’t feel cinched up, my butt crack never hangs out, and I’ve never once had to pull the waist of my pants back up. There was, however, one downside. 

“The Floppy Sit-Downs”

While standing, the tension of the suspenders against the weight of the pants allows them to lay flush against the abdomen and chest. However, when the torso is compressed while sitting, this can lead to what I call “the floppy sit-downs.” As the straps lose tension from improper posture, they flop—even possibly to the point of falling off of one’s shoulders. Pretty annoying, right? 

The fix, however, emerged from my own laziness. To keep the suspender straps from flopping, I’d have to sit up straight in my chair to keep my torso is the same position as it would be while standing. Some yay-whos in lab coats call this sitting position “proper posture.”

The Improper Posture Detector

One of the problems with improper posture is that we don’t know when it has occurred. Sure, we start out great, but as our attention shifts away from our bodies, our weakened core muscles cause us to slump over once again. 

I’ve seen a wide variety of remedies for this problem. One was an actual sensory device placed between the shoulder blades that emits a gentle zapping when slouching is detected. Another product I’ve noticed (just before I skipped the YouTube ad) was a shoulder strap that supposedly holds your shoulders in place—though I’m not sure how that’s supposed to help you build the necessary muscles or muscle memory to maintain proper posture on your own. However, suspenders seem to be the multifaceted Improper Posture Detector no one talks about. 

Now, whenever I notice my suspender straps go limp and begin to slide from my shoulders while sitting, this just reminds me to sit up straight—up off the back of my chair and as though I’m standing from the torso upward. 

suspenders posture

But It Hurts

Many who are new to sitting with proper posture or going barefoot may complain that these activities are painful. Well, yeah—we’re working muscles that are usually supported by some artificial device (a supportive chair or a cushioned shoe). I remember that when my wrist was taken out of a cast for the first time in seven weeks, it was painful to bend and support as well due to atrophied muscles. Still, if we regularly practice these behaviors, we can strengthen these muscles and relieve associated pain. 

Cheers.

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Ken Lane
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