For those of you who come to my Essentrics classes, you know that I often talk about posture and that we are consistently trying to work on our posture during the workout. The article provides more details around this subject and a clear explanation regarding “good posture” and why it’s so important for our body.
Very few fitness programs focus on improving posture, and I find this is one of the greatest benefits of Essentrics. We go through exercises that lift the arms above the head and open the chest, pulling and challenging the back muscles which correct poor posture through strengthening and stretching the entire torso.
Good posture needs regular maintenance, much like the rest of our body, however most of us don’t do anything to change it. Poor posture is a bad habit that does not improve unless we become pro-active, aware and consciously make the change each day. The muscle and ligament imbalances that result from poor alignment and bad posture can lead to all sorts of health problems:
- Difficulty breathing, as the rib cage is crushed preventing greater lung expansion as we breathe
- Decreased energy and fatigue
- Dropping of the upper back, leading to osteoporosis, atrophy and muscle weakness
- Chronic back, neck, shoulder pain
- Digestion issues
- Foot, knee, hip, and back injuries
- Nerve compression
Flexibility and strength of the entire upper torso are essential to achieving posture improvement, which is what we work on with Essentrics. Pay attention to your posture! It’s not normal or healthy to go about our lives with hunched over backs, imbalanced bodies, lack of energy, stiffness, muscle atrophy and dealing with pain.
And let’s not forget that your posture says a lot about your personality, not just how your joints and muscles are working. If you imagine a strong, powerful, and confident person, you see someone standing tall with an open chest and a head held high. How you look and feel is directly related to your posture!
I have included an image below to illustrate the concept of good posture. Everyone has their own natural curvature in their spine. Many people have "sway back" posture or "thoracic kyphosis" (refer to diagram) and so they must think more about bringing their hips back and pulling their chest more forwards. In both cases we are pulling up out of the lower back and must always make sure the load path from the head and shoulders is going straight down through the hips. Essentially you are trying to line up the shoulders, hips, and ankles.
Have a look at Miranda's mini instructional videos on the Essentrics website - Am I Doing this Right? - "the proper way to stand" and "posture" http://www.essentrics.com/media.html#ins
Hope you have found the above information useful and that it has motivated you to not forget about your posture!