Since I’m sure the number one resolution set every year is to start working out, I thought we should talk about something very important – you’re Posture!
I bet you all sat up a little straighter as you read that! And good, now hold that till you get to the end of this article!
Good posture is key to a healthy spine, stable core and will prevent many injuries from occurring when you start hitting the gym. So let’s start with a little self evaluation. Stand sideways in front of a full length mirror. Stand first in your natural position. Now read through this list and mentally note where you made adjustments.
- Bring your head directly over your trunk, chin level with the ground, ears over shoulders
- Bring your shoulders in line with your hips. Your scapula should sit flat against your back. Relax your shoulders (don’t shrug)
- Contract your abdominal muscles (pull your belly button to your spine & brace like your about to get punched in the stomach)
- You’re Pelvis should be sitting in a neutral position, tail bone dropped (lowered) to lengthen the spine (Pull in that j-lo butt!) and relax your gluts.
- Knees soft (not locked).
- feet parallel and shoulder width apart, weight evenly balanced.
You should be standing with your head held high to the ceiling and please, don’t forget to breath!
Did you have to make many corrections to your posture? Is it painful to stand in this proper position?
Maintaining proper postural alignment while exercising is important for stabilization, proper breathing, joint range of motion and reducing the risk of injury. Often injuries will occur when working out if we do not maintain proper body mechanics.
Creating Postural problems
Certain issues may occur when improper posture is maintained for to long. We have natural curves in our spine, it should form a very gentle S shape. Someone with an exaggerated curve in their shoulders (hunched over) is said to be Kyphotic and a deep curve in the lumbar spine is referred to as Lordotic. Both of these issues can cause chronic pain. Hunched shoulders will cause tension headaches and make it difficult to lift properly. Exaggerated lordosis, puts your pelvis out of its neutral alignment, causes lower back pain and can also create that annoying lower belly bulge that we all hate so much.
Correcting your posture
The good news is, if you have poor posture now, it’s not set in stone. Posture can be corrected by strengthening and stretching regularly, and if you are starting a new gym routine, I highly recommend starting with your posture!
To bring your shoulders back into place you will want to focus on stretching your chest and strengthening your back. Try exercises that involve pulling rather then pushing, like a bent over row or seated row.
To help bring your lower back into proper position you want to stretch gluts and strengthen your core muscles. Try and make it a conscious effort all day along to keep that tail bone dropped and pull your belly button to your spine. A good exercise to strengthen your lower stomach muscle is a dead bug; lay down with your back on the floor. Pull your belly button to your spine and lower your tailbone, pushing your lower back into the mat. Arms to your sides, lift your legs 90 degrees with the lower leg parallel to the floor. Now slowly lower your leg, bringing your toe to the ground and stoping just before it touches the ground. Go slowly and focus on maintaining the 90 degree angle and proper back posture. Breath!!!
It will change your life
I don’t mean to be dramatic or anything, but it really will. When I started to focus on changing my posture I noticed so many of my daily little aches and pains start to evaporate. When you are able to sit up straight with your chest open, you will breath better, which will in turn give you more energy. You will look better! Good posture is sexy, in accentuates the chest and helps to hold your stomach in. You will be able to move better, you will feel better, you will sleep better.
So before you start your new work out routine, check your posture and first work to improve it. If possible talk to a trainer at your gym, and ask for tips on improving your posture, they might be able to show you something life changing!
Stay Healthy & Happy Adventures