Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Take on 2014 with Perfect Posture

As a trainer I spend my days teaching people how to move better. Something I can't stress enough is how important our posture is. When we're not in the gym we're defining our posture by the way we carry ourselves. Our muscles are developing based on the way we stand and move in our everyday life, our posture is our foundation for all other movement. If you're posture is bad you probably move pretty poorly, if you're posture is good you probably move pretty well. There's a lot of grey area in both good and bad posture, and even when you're posture is good there's always things you can do to make your posture better!

One of my goals and something all my clients will be working on in 2014 is improving general posture and our ability to squat deeply with a neutral stance (feet under hips, toes pointing forward) while keeping chest up. This sounds "doable" right? The best part about this goal is that it's measurable and by achieving a better bottom position on your squat we'll have lots of auxiliary benefits like increased range of motion (ROM) of hip, knee, and ankle joints. Improvement in ROM can make you better at yoga, strength training, etc. Best of all it's likely to decrease risk for over use injuries and acute joint pain. To achieve better posture and ROM you need to increase you're body awareness, pay attention to the way you stand, sit, sleep, and move. Here are a couple things to think about:

1. Standing: When you stand think about pulling your shoulder blades down and back, align your shoulders and head over hips and hips over heels. Gently squeeze your glutes (bum) and pull up through the arches of your feet.

2. Feet: Try to decrease the angle between and heel and toe (stop wearing heels and high support shoes) do this gently by strengthening your feet walking barefoot when at home, think about creating an arch with your feet with your body weight distributed about the foot. Our feet have lots of muscles in them and require conditioning too!

3. Walking: Try to walk with your toes pointing forward (not turned out like a duck or in like a pigeon). Contract your abdominals and keep your torso erect. Ensure your head stays over the shoulders and doesn't jut forward.

4. Siting: Sit only when you have to. When you're siting, think about lengthening the spine by pushing the tail bone back. Sit up straight and squeeze between the shoulder blades, lengthen the neck and keep the torso erect. If you have to sit for extends period of time, try to move around and change positions frequently. You can even do some seated stretches!

Starting with these four things will give you a good foundation for better body awareness and posture. In our next post we'll start talking about how to increase ROM and how we can measure our improvement. Another plus to having good posture is that it makes you look leaner, healthier, stronger, and more confident! Happy New Year!

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