Fitness

Fitness Saturday: Three Ways to Correct Posture

Jonathan for web

This is another post in our series of Fitness Saturday exercises, workouts, and expert tips appropriate to women in the second half of life. Jonathan Urla, a certified advanced health and fitness specialist, returns to the importance of posture and shares three simple techniques to correct bad posture.

 

Posture refers to way we hold ourselves when we sit, stand, and lie down. Many people think that posture naturally deteriorates as we age, but I have seen many older women with excellent posture, and likewise, I have seen many young people, even kids, with bad posture from playing video games hunched over. For most people, bad posture is an ingrained habit. It comes from lack of awareness and poor mechanics. One thing is certain, bad posture affects more than just the way you look and move. Breathing, circulation, digestion, and other bodily functions are adversely affected; and spinal deformities can be created. The health of your body and even your brain is affected as studies have shown that poor posture drains your body of energy and can put you in a bad mood.
 
We previously discussed good sitting posture, which is important, but today I want to address three key areas where it is common to develop bad posture, and show you three simple remedies that take only one minute each to correct it.
 
1. Forward Head Posture
Description: Positioning the head forward from the line of your spine. Often includes a slight upward tilt of the skull.
Cause: Rounding the neck forward to look down for extended periods, such as when reading, watching videos, typing on a laptop, or playing games with the book or device at a level that is lower then your shoulders. This causes the back of the neck muscles and cervical ligaments to become overstretched and weak.

Wall Lean

Solution: Wall Neck Lean
Stand with your back against a wall. Place the back of your head against the wall making sure the top of your head and bottom of your chin are level. Keeping your body in a straight line, walk your feet away from the wall about a foot so that the rest of your body is off the wall and only the back of your head remains touching the wall. Stay leaning in this position for 1 minute.
 
2. Rounded Shoulders
Description: Rounding the outside of the shoulders forward and sinking the chest area in.
Cause: Sitting with bad posture can be one reason, but it may also come from excess tightness in the chest muscles either from overwork or from stress and protective reflex.

Wall Chest Stretch1 Wall Chest Stretch2

Solution: Wall Chest Stretch
Stand in a doorway with your body even with the door frame. With your arm bent in a right angle, palm up, place your left forearm on the edge of the frame 90 degrees from your body. Step forward with your left leg to feel a stretch in your chest and shoulder on that side of your body. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat stretch on the other side.
 
3. Lower Back Slouch
Description: Standing with a slumped or sway back position. While sitting, it is usually evident by a slouch in the lower back.
Cause: Sitting for extended periods without proper support for the lower back, such as in an airplane seat. This causes the lower back muscles and ligaments that hold the lumbar vertebrae to become overstretched and weak.

Sraight Leg Bridge

Straight Leg Bridge2

Solution: Straight Leg Bridge
Lying on the ground, place the back of your feet up on the edge of a couch or low chair. Keep your legs close together and your knees straight. Press down with your heels so your body is off the floor in a straight line. The back of your shoulders and head should remain on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, roll the spine back down, then repeat.
 
To really correct bad posture, do the corrective exercises like the ones described above, once or twice a day. In addition, there are some therapeutic modalities, such as Alexander, Feldenkrais, Pilates, and Yoga, that can help to establish a practice that includes awareness of proper alignment and good posture. Once you begin to notice your posture and make the adjustments to hold yourself with better alignment, you are releasing an old habit and forming a good one. Let your better posture encourage and empower you to be taller, stronger, more aligned, and healthier.

Start the conversation