At 5’8” I am not particularly tall, and this leaves me somewhat envious of guys who are and who can honestly describe themselves as ‘tall, dark and handsome’. It’s just not as mysterious or as imposing to be ‘slightly under average’.
Due to this jealousy, I find it particularly difficult when I see tall guys who refuse to stand up straight. They are fortunate to have been born with tallness on their side, and yet they insist on standing hunched over with their backs arched – stooping to the level of everyone else. There are many reasons that tall people do this which vary from individual to individual, but either way it can create an unattractive impression and also cause a number of health problems. Here we will look at how you can start standing up taller again.
Of course if you are standing hunched over most of the time, then this is mostly a physical and mechanical problem and as such can be fixed in a practical way. Learn to stand up straight by puffing your chest out slightly, raising your chin, and bringing your neck in-line with the base of your spine so that there’s a straight line down your centre of gravity.
If hunching is a life-long habit though, it’s going to be difficult remembering to always stand this way and you will often find yourself slipping back into old habits. As such it can help to find a way to remind yourself constantly. Ask your friends and family to pick you up on it when they notice it, and try wearing a visible reminder such as a bracelet that you associate with standing up taller. You can even try setting reminders on your phone.
Another way to make this more natural is to take up yoga. Posture plays a big role in yoga, and if you practice it regularly this will help to make it ingrained. Remember to maintain good posture while you sit too – try tucking your legs further under your chair to force your spine into a more upright position.
What you may find if this has been a problem for years though is that you struggle to fix your posture and that your back naturally returns to a hunched position. This can be fixed often by building the right muscles. In particular you want to build your lats up to be larger and stronger than your pecs, which will have the effect of ‘pulling’ you back into an upright position. A physiotherapist can also help to show you some corrective exercises that will help you return to normal.
All these things will help you to stand up taller and to remember your posture. However what’s also important is to think about the psychological aspects that cause you to stoop – perhaps you want to come down to the same level as your peers, or maybe you feel shy and don’t want to stand out. If you think the latter is contributing, then look into using cognitive behavioural therapy to boost your self-esteem. Being tall is a great asset with many advantages so don’t hide it – work it!