A lot can be said about how we hold ourselves throughout our lives, I know I personally admire others who hold themselves well and walk tall (not literally, this is not a post to discriminate against a persons height!). But our posture is something that we can control and when we are walking tall, I know personally that I feel good, self assured and confident. I also know that by holding my body well and keeping my posture strong I am helping to keep my body healthy.
When our body is aligned, our blood flows smoothly throughout our body, this not only helps our circulation, but it also ensures our muscles can easily receive the fuel they needs to function. Because our blood is flowing well we also feel less sluggish! Our joints are also better positioned to move in the way they are supposed to – thus helping to decrease jarring, joint pain. Most importantly though, by maintaining positive posture during exercise, and also whilst performing our daily everyday tasks (sitting, walking) we can prevent dreaded injuries.
Here are some really easy tips to help maintain a positive posture:
1) Aim to stand with feet shoulder width or hip width apart
2) Keep knees soft – avoid locking them back
3) Keep your pelvis in a neutral position – you want to have a nice neutral curve in your back, not overly curved and not flat. You might need to tuck your bottom under to achieve a neutral spine
4) Aim to hold your shoulders gently back and down – don’t overly squeeze your shoulder blades together or lift your shoulders to your ears. You want your shoulders to fall back and down!
5) Imagine someone is pulling you up through the middle of your head – lengthening your spine
6) Avoid overly poking your chin, so a slight tuck will help to keep our head in a great neutral position!
1) Same as above
2) Avoid crossing your legs or feet, try to keep your knees, hips and ankles in alignment
3) Try to sit with your bottom comfortably on the chair – your spine should be stacked neatly on top of your pelvis
4-6) The same as above
There are lot of people banging on about the ‘core’ – well they are definitely onto something. By being aware of our core and engaging the muscles (the main ones are transverse abdominus, multifidis, diaphragm and pelvic floor) as we move and sit we will also help to avoid injuries – in particular those that occur in our back.
To engage the core just imagine that someone is pulling your belly button towards your spine from behind (avoid squeezing your glutes). It’s great if you can activate your pelvic floor also (sorry for the toilet talk but it’s the best way to explain it – just imagine you holding onto a #1 & #2!)
Our core muscles are endurance muscles so the more you engage them the stronger they will be and you’ll be amazed at how great you will feel.