Supermodels have it. Charlize Theron has it, Victoria Beckham doesn’t and Miley Cyrus was slammed for not having it at the Oscars. Can you guess what it is?
Good posture — and a bride who has it — will glide like a gazelle, confident and graceful. The bride who doesn’t, will look round-shouldered and slouchy.
Of course there health benefits to good posture: fewer headaches, less back pain, reduced injury and even, some claim, more immunity to disease.
For brides, the benefits are instant. Experts say you can look between five to 10 pounds lighter if you stand correctly. Pulling your shoulders back and down will elongate your neckline. Pulling in your abdominals and rib cage will flatten your stomach and slim the waist. Holding a strong core will relieve pressure from your legs and allow them to move more lithely.
So all you have to do is stand up straight? No. Experts tell us most people have “bad” posture from spending so much time sitting down hunched over computers and smartphones. To regain good posture, we have to work against these daily habits.
“The key to good posture is good cervical (neck) and scapular (shoulder blade) strength and flexibility,” says Dr. Michael J. McNulty, with Southern Orthopedic Specialists. “Exercises with resistance bands can help — ones that pull your shoulders back, like bench rows and push-ups. Dehydration from too much champagne or crash diets will also make it harder to hold your body well.”
Elizabeth Gilbreath Van Alstyne, director of Pilates at Romney Pilates Center and a professional ballerina, says brides can benefit in several ways from correct instruction.
“Good posture is when all the weight bearing joints — spine and pelvis, are aligned,” says Van Alstyne. “Pilates strengths your core muscles to support these joints so we are able to relax our shoulders, move our head and neck freely and relieve stress from our hips, legs and feet.
“We teach active body awareness, making us aware of our muscles, our breathing and our alignment. It takes practice and clients can use these techniques anytime they feel their body slumping or aching. We also teach brides to hold their bouquets without rounding their shoulders.”
Pure Barre offers brides special rates, says Sarah Tennyson.
“Our method is focused on improving core strength and we offer a ‘Bride-to-Be’ package special for engaged clients,” she says. “Three months of unlimited classes for $400.”
Jessie Morel, from Trainer To Go, recommends a combination of resistance training for core strength and yoga because it creates a consciousness of the physical connection of the feet to the earth.
Whatever method you choose, it takes effort to regain the natural posture we are born with. Without a doubt, it’s worth it for the big day and the rest of your life.
This article originally ran in the Summer 2015 issue of New Orleans Bride Magazine.