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Movement for Good Posture

The importance of good posture on our physical and mental health.

There is no denying it, the modern day life is severely detrimental to our posture. With a device lead society, the time spent sat down, hunched over is excessive and we have to do something to avoid the negative impact it has on our physical and mental health.

We have all be told to “stand up straight” which actually is timeless advice. Despite the irritation it often causes (usually as it’s said by a parent or spouse) it is pretty good guidance. Our bodies are designed to become really good at the things we do most. If we sit down and hunch over majority of the time then it will make us good at that. Therefore, we must take control and use our time and energy wisely to counterbalance our terrible postures due to living in this device driven age.

Why is having poor posture so bad for us?

Sitting hunched over regularly causes excessive curvature of the spine. As you can see in the image below it can cause kyphosis and lordosis which exaggerates the natural curve of the spine and lead to neck and back pain and injury.

Not only is it going to give you back and neck pain it can also negatively effect your breathing, lung capacity, digestion, energy levels and joint health as everything internally is compressed.

Our physiology (the way our body works) has a direct link to our mood and mental state. If our body is functioning poorly due to bad posture it will inevitable effect out mental health. If you look around many people suffering with depression or feeling severely shy or anxious will walk around with their head down and shoulders hunched. Alternatively a happy, confident and excited person will walk with their head lifted and chest open. Changing your posture and physiology will instantly improve your mental state.

We know he modern day work environment exacerbates the posture problem and therefore we have to make a conscious effort to improve our posture, sooner rather than later.

How do we improve our posture?

To improve our posture we need to work the muscles in the back of our body (our posterior chain) which includes our neck, back and leg muscles. Most people spend an excessive amount of time with the front of their body (anterior chain) in flection as shown below.

How can we improve our posture right now?

The muscles in the back of our body are important to focus on when looking to improve

posture. Exercises which reverse the curving (flexion) of the upper back and encourage lengthening & extension (like in the photo)are going to strengthen the back .

We need the support of our back muscles to sustain a healthy position of the spine. As Joesph Pilates said, “you are only as old as your spine”. Mobilising the spine is just as important as strengthening the back muscles. A simple stretch like that shown below will mobilise the spine, help strengthen the back muscles and open up the chest.

Additionally a strong core is key to having good posture as it is a primary supporter of our spine and upper body. Without the support of the core our abdomens are likely to relax and cause an extended abdomen, excessive curvature of the upper back (kyphosis) and excessive pressure on our lower back (lordosis). Pilates is brilliant at strengthening the core and you can find lots of brilliant core workouts on Youtube, like this one.

I hate to break it to you, but if your job causes you to be in one position for an extended period of time (usually bending or leaning over) then we have to work against it every day too. It only has to take you 5 minutes but your body (including your muscles, digestive system and brain) will thank you for it later. 5 minutes is all it has to take:

If you are looking to spend a little more time (which I highly recommend) on improving your posture take this 20 minute video today and put time into looking after your body after all it works for us every second of every minute of every hour of every day.

Set a reminder or your phone each day to stand up, stretch and improve your posture. As always you are welcome to move with me anytime and I’ll be there whether you have 5 or 30 minutes. Take a minute for you today and I guarantee you'll feel better.

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