This month we are focusing on Posture in classes, I thought I’d write this blog post about why it’s important and most importantly what it is.
What is Good Posture?
There’s been a lot of research lately concluding that there’s no such thing as ‘good’ posture. Correct posture is whatever’s right for your body. Posture is not a fixed position, but a dynamic moving thing. It’s how we walk, sit, stand and go about our everyday business.
I would tend to agree, and when I do postural assessments on my clients I always look to see what’s best for them. In some people they will never have a perfect posture because their spine does not bend ‘perfectly’. So we go about getting it as best as we can, for them.
Technically an ideal posture would have your joints in a neutral position, so that they are without stress, and follow the natural alignment of the bones. To have good posture you need good muscular balance. The postural muscles contain mostly slow-twitch muscle fibres and are built for endurance.
Why is Good Posture Important
Many injuries or pain can be related in some way to muscular imbalance or poor posture. It’s the alignment of your bones into the best position for you, so that your muscles are equally balanced. It makes balancing and co-ordination of your body easier and helps to prevent pain and injuries.
Repetitive movements or spending long times in the same position can create imbalances throughout the body.
This then becomes a pattern habit, and these patterns destabilise your body’s natural balance making it tense, which leads to muscular weakness and resulting in pain or injury.
Posture is not a static thing, it’s a dynamic way of moving. Good posture should be present in all movements.
In classes we have been focusing on the posterior chain of muscles and used the band to increase external rotation through the hips. Both integral areas for good movement to occur.
Good Posture helps with the following;
* It keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being held and the correct length and therefore being used properly.
* Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces.
* Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
* Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
* Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
* Prevents backache and muscular pain.
* Contributes to a good appearance. In fact, by just correcting your posture you can look like you’ve lost weight.
My mentor Paul Chek says ‘you won’t get a smooth cycle ride, with a crooked wheel’, and it’s true. When your posture is out of alignment there will be tightness and tautness in the body. Some muscles will need to be stretched and others strengthened. That’s why a full postural assessment is important.
Good posture has also been linked to mindset. A study in Health Psychology found that people who feel stressed can kick their negative mood and even boost their self-esteem by sitting upright. Other research found that good posture was associated with better body image among people with depression.
*Posture Check – it’s been quoted that good posture is 80% habit. Just by thinking about your posture you’ll sit up straighter (I bet you’ve done it now?). Set a reminder on your phone or think about something you do regularly (like put the kettle on), and make that time just to tune into yourself and have a think about your alignment.
*Roll Your Shoulders – if you’ve been hunched over your computer all day or driving for long distances, then release your shoulders just by rolling them backwards and lifting them up to your ears. The more movement you can get through your shoulders the better.
*Tilt your pelvis – we do this at the start of every class. Pelvic tilts can be done standing, sitting or lying down, they help to release off a tight lower back. It also gives you the opportunity to tune into how your back is feeling and get some movement into it.
*Check your feet – are they facing forward or out to the side. Realign your feet regularly to point forward.
Most of the exercises that we do in a regular Pilates class will also massively benefit your posture.
If you’re feeling like your posture is something that is causing you pain and you’d like to find out more, then you can book onto one of my private packages. I conduct a full postural assessment and write you a bespoke training program, you can find out more by clicking here.