Good Posture Blog
Written by Kim Casto
Why Good Posture Matters!
“Sit up and stop slouching!” As a kid, my mother used to always say this to me.
My response: “Ugh. “Okay, Mom”.
What I didn’t realize is that her nagging me was more beneficial than I could ever image!
Did you know that when you have good posture your organs function better? You appear more slender? You can breath better?
Try this for yourself. Slouch. I mean really slouch down in your chair or if you’re standing: let you belly pouch, your shoulders round forward, sink in your torso and naturally your head will go forward and you’ll shrink in height. Check out what’s going on in your body right now:
– There is more pressure in your back due to the compression in your spine, which can ultimately lead to chronic:
– Back pain & headaches
– Your organs have less space to get proper blood flow and oxygen and therefore your….
– Breathing is compromised
– Digestion slows down
– You’re shorter
– And it probably doesn’t feel too good.
Now try this: Stand tall or sit to the very back of your chair and sit up tall on your sits bones (if you put your hands under your bum you will feel those bones). When standing or sitting tall your shoulders should line up over the hips and ears over the shoulders. If standing your ankles, knees and hips make a plumb line.
This is when really changes happen, such as:
– Your breathing improves. Standing taller gives you diaphragm the proper amount of space to fully contract and relax.
– You have more energy! When your joints & bones are properly aligned, your muscles don’t need to work so hard to hold you upright. Therefore you have more energy to accomplish everything else you need to do in the day.
– Your Digestion improves. Think about how much easier it is for you to sip your iced coffee or tea through a normal straw as opposed to a squished one. Now translate that to 25 feet of intestines’ you have. Get the picture?
– You appear taller! And may actually prevent shrinking. Most of us want to be taller so why not work on it and actually be taller!!
– Your Confidence improves. In the book “The Confidence Code” they sighted research where individuals that held good posture actually had an increase in their overall confidence. Another study at Ohio State University affirms this theory.
So how do I improve my posture? It takes more than simply sitting up tall BUT having the awareness & practicing is #1.
Here are other great tips on improving your posture:
– Strengthen your core. Imagine the trunk of a 50 year old oak tree being all jello!!! WOW! Sounds dangerous. Well, that is how vulnerable your body is without strengthening your core. Your limbs will most likely break your back if you’re all jello.
– Strengthen your back. We often are in the position of bowing forward. Whether we are looking at our laptop, cell phone or reading a book. Counteract this by doing spine extension exercises. This is always incorporated in Bodylines Pilates classes because we know that these are the muscles that literally hold you upright every day.
– Open up tight hips. When your hips are tight they can pull the pelvis forward therefore creating a bigger arch in your lower back. This just sets of the chain reaction all the way up the spine.
– Stretch tight chest muscles. A tight chest and shoulders can be pulling you forward and creating a rounded upper back. If your chest muscles are too tight, your back muscles can’t properly contract to hold you up right. So before doing any upper back strengthening exercises you should be sure to stretch your chest.
– Move every 20 min. Stand up, walk around and get your blood flowing for 1-5 minutes. Just enough so old posture patterns can set into place. Set an alarm on your phone and it will alert you and let someone else know you got to go!
– Strengthen your glutes (your bum!). When your glutes are weak it can impact your pelvic and therefore the alignment of your spine. Bridges is a great exercise that you can do anywhere. It will not only strengthen your tush but will also open your hips. Double whammy!
– Place your computer (and cell phone!) at eye level. It will feel odd initially but trust me, this will make a huge difference in the alignment of your neck and can help to eliminate headaches.