How to improve your posture
This blog post is all about how to improve your posture.
Do you suffer with bad posture?
Ever see yourself in photos and wish you had stood or sat straighter?
Do you find your shoulders are constantly forward and your sat slumped?
All of the above habits are formed over time.
Due to the comfort of the sofa, our massive use of mobile phones and the luxuries of living in a modern world we often “switch off” our postural muscles.
Our postural muscles are designed to work tirelessly away in the background to support our body for long periods of time. Their role is to help stabilise our spine, maintain an upright position and ‘hum’ gently in the background to support our global muscles that are designed to help us move and function.
It is more common in this day and age for people to work in static 9 – 5 desk jobs. Consequently, for those of us who have an active job, we often have physically demanding roles.
So using our core stability muscles is more important than ever.
Pilates is brilliant for improving our body AWARENESS.
With awareness comes RECOGNITION.
And with recognition comes the ability to CHANGE.
If your posture has got worse over years of bad habit sitting positions or poor movement patterns, then be aware that this change does not happen overnight.
BUT it is possible.
With good posture comes BODY CONFIDENCE.
An improved body IMAGE.
And an increased sense of SELF WORTH.
So what is normal posture?
“Normal” is so different for each and everyone of us.
- As a general rule we should have FOUR curves in our spine. It should be “S” shaped and not “C” shaped. There are two curves IN at our neck and lower back region (lordosis) and two curves OUT at our upper back and tailbone levels (kyphosis).
- The head should be on top of our body and not in front.
- Shoulder blades should be nestled against our chest wall and sit away from our ears with our collar bones open wide.
- Our ribcage should be directly on top of our pelvis.
- The pelvis should be level like a see-saw.
- Our centre: lower tummy and pelvic floor muscles should be working at a low gentle 30% hum in the background throughout the day.
So HOW do we IMPROVE our POSTURE?
Here’s a little recipe for you to practise.
- Look at your posture in a mirror: – become aware of your head position, shoulder heights, ribcage position, pelvis position and lower back curvature.
- Work out if the above are level or in the correct position (see above for tips).
- Notice bad movement habits and break them. So if you sit with your legs crossed and a lot and suffer with low back pain near your tailbone area. Try sitting with your pelvis level more. If you notice your shoulders up near your ears, lower them back down.
- Become AWARE of your body position.
- Correct bad postures each time you realise you have slipped back into your bad habit.
If you ever see people in the street with good posture they ooze body confidence and they portray a strength of immense self worth. You to can feel like this with good posture.
Start with small adjustments but in time you will reap the rewards.
With good posture you are likely to reduce low back, upper neck and shoulder pain. This is because you will slump less in sitting. You will learn to recognise each time your shoulders creep up towards your ears to gently lower them back down
STAND TALL and SIT STRAIGHT to INCREASE YOUR BODY CONFIDENCE immediately.
Finally, if you would like more information about how to do this you can find out all you need to know and practise in my online course CONFIDENT CORE.
Thank you for this! You know as I was reading this I started to sit up straight on the settee. I will be practicing more of this. Thanks.
That’s great news as once you become aware of bad posture habits you start to change them 🙂 yey well done!
I class myself as very body aware. However I do get shoulder niggles due I suspect to sitting at a computer for a big part of the day. I stretch & move about to help relieve the niggles. No one has ever mentioned the car head rest to me, so thank you. I drive quite a lot & am now going to check my posture & head position when driving as I don’t know that this isn’t contributing to the niggles? I’ll keep you posted. Thanks again.
Hello Lisa, yes head position awareness is something that is very difficult to distinguish unless we have something to rest it against. A colleague of mine did a study into neck proprioception (your body’s awareness of where it is in space) a couple of years back and healthy subjects were way off with where their head positions were in space. The head rest in a car is a great prop we can use – good luck using it and yes let me know how you get on 🙂