This is the 3rd installment on posture. Amazing how much there is to write about on one topic. Improving posture is about not only sitting and standing correctly, but moving properly and moving more.
We are not meant to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day and look at a computer screen. We are built to move. You can see the consequences of people sitting for too long or staring at their phones all day. The head moves forward, the shoulders become rounded, people are getting shorter – as in the picture above. But this is also creating neck issues, low back pain, shoulder irritation.
This is because it is affecting your ease of movement, breathing, and energy level. I touched on this on the other blogs. I hear about muscle tightness, fatigue, joint pain, anxiety, sleep issues that are due to spine misalignment.
When you slouch, you become heavy and breath is shortened due to the ribs not being able to fully expand. This also means that it makes it more difficult to activate your muscles because you are compressing them, so the movement is more rigid. Try it out. Slouch over and try taking a deep breath and lifting your arm.
Two cues your posture should be corrected are 1. If you wake up feeling sore and achy and lack energy or 2. You keep feeling tension and tightness in your body. Now these can be cues for poor posture, but if you have these symptoms and you feel your alignment is good, then there are other issues going on and you should seek advise from a specialist to get to the root cause of the problem. Click here to schedule a Free 20 minute Discovery call with our specialist.
So we discussed ways to improve your posture in the last 2 blogs, for instance, changing up your workstation to be appropriate for you, getting up out of the chair every 20 minutes, or starting off and being aware of your alignment.
But there is one thing that will really help the issues caused by poor posture/alignment and that is strengthening to support the spine. That means getting into your core muscles: lower abdominals, gluts., pelvic floor, and diaphragm.
Here are exercises that will increase your strength to improve posture.
1. Kegel’s: tighten the pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles that stop you from becoming incontinent. Think of it as an elevator and you’re going from floor 1, minimal tightening, to floor 4, the tightest you can make these muscles in one round. Lie on your back with your knees bent to start and as you get stronger you can go to sitting then standing.
2. Walk sideways down your hallways. This will functionally strengthen your pelvic floor, hip girdle, and gluts. Keep the feet parallel, particularly the lead foot, and be sure to switch which foot is leading so you don’t use the same one all the time.
3. Lie on your back with your knees bent and place a ball on your thighs. Cross your wrists and place the hands on the ball. Push your hands into the ball and keep your pelvis still. Exhale as you push. Then switch your wrists so you do the same thing with the other one on top. You should feel your abdominals engage.
4. Blow up a balloon. Lie on the floor with your knees bent. Inhale through your nose then exhale through your mouth into the balloon. Hold your breath for 3 counts then inhale (balloon is still in your mouth) without allowing the air from the balloon to come into your mouth. This requires your ribs to move to involve your diaphragm and the lower abdominals also become activated.
5. Deadlifts. These exercises are for the gluts. and simulate how you sit in a chair and should rise. Bend from the hips and stick your buttocks out behind you. Keep the spine straight. Stand up by bringing the buttocks back forward (not the trunk – it will follow when you bring the buttocks forward) to stand up all the way straight.
In conclusion, posture/alignment is not just about awareness and correcting it, it’s about strengthening the postural and core muscles to support the new alignment, which in turn will help to eliminate those aches and pains and lack of energy. Should you need further help in eliminating the issue to return to the lifestyle you had to be able to participate in the activities you love, click here to schedule a Free 20 minute Discovery call so you can see how we can help you.
To Your Health,