We put value on many things in our life. Diet and exercise are considered important in today’s society to stay healthy and fit. But there is a blind spot when it comes to the importance of posture. Funnily enough it is something we use 24/7 and it gets little focused attention beyond trying to sit up straight when we catch ourselves slumping. This doesn’t last and it’s as bad for you as slumping.
What value can we put on properly aligning the organs, bones, and muscles of the body? In a nutshell, it: improves circulation and breathing; boosts the nervous system; supports organ functions; promotes muscle relaxation and stress reduction; enhances athletic performance; reduces risk of injury; and accelerates healing from injury.
Here are a few added-value tips to help you move towards healthier posture:
- Shoulder Roll: Instead of trying to pull your shoulders back and sit up straight, try rolling one shoulder at a time into a healthier place. Starting with the right shoulder, move it a little bit forward, a bit up and then all the way back and then relax. Now do the same with the left. The shoulders will actually stay where you place them without straining the rhomboid muscles located between the shoulder blades. Value: Truly good posture does not take a lot of muscular effort and quickly becomes a comfortable habit.
- Breathe: Once you’ve gotten the shoulders where they belong, take a deep breath in. You will notice that the breath goes into the chest and expands the ribcage. Value: More oxygen to the body and to the brain.
- Stretch-sitting helps to stretch your back while letting the chair do all of the work. Hint: You may wish to place a towel on the back of the chair to create some traction if it is slippery. 1.Start by placing your buttocks well back in a chair with feet hip width apart. 2. Now hip-hinge forward and round the upper body over slightly. This lengthens the lower back and prevents any sway you may have. 3. Keep your bottom anchored to the chair. With both hands hold onto some part of the chair (seat, sides or armrests) and push the upper body up away from the lower half of the body while maintaining the forward curve. This move adds extra length to the spine. 4. Maintaining the length you’ve created, gently come back and hitch your back to the backrest of the chair and relax. You have just put your lower back into traction. Value: relaxes and lengthens the muscles in the back, brings more circulation to the spine, decompresses spinal nerves and discs.
- Start Now: It is never too late to learn healthy posture. The more you align the body and start using the weight bearing bones that you are meant to use, the stronger these bones get. When weight-bearing bones are not used and stressed due to poor postural habits, they tend to get weaker. Value: Using the weight bearing bones helps prevent osteoporosis and osteopenia.
- Un-Tuck: Tucking the pelvis as instructed by many exercise and dance instructors as well as some health professionals, goes against the natural structure of the body. When we became bi-pedal millions of years ago, the disc between our L5 & S1 vertebra evolved to be wedged shaped. Tucking can cause this disc to bulge or herniate. Also if you observe people sitting with a tucked pelvis, you will notice that their upper bodies are usually slumped with head protruding forward. Un-tuck the pelvis and watch what happens to the upper body. Value: Having a forward tipped pelvis provides the optimal position for the upper body to align itself.
- Activity & Athletics: If you have poor posture, increased activity is not an efficient
way to arrive at better posture and can even result in injuries instead. It is better to focus on posture in its own right, or on posture alongside increased activity. Value: Once you have good posture, you will get much more out of your activity; activity will maintain your muscles and your posture.
If you have any questions regarding your posture, contact me
Michelle Ball, Massage Therapist and GokhaleMethod® Teacher – Ph: 0428 223 271 or firstname.lastname@example.org