We have all heard about the importance of ‘good posture’ and maintaining a ‘strong core’! It’s similar to the weekly allowance of alcohol in units, we know it’s important but many choose to ignore the guidelines. Perhaps you have recently been treated by a physiotherapist who gave you exercises to strengthen your core, went along to a Pilates or Yoga class where the instructor mentioned again and again the importance of activating and maintaining a strong core which will lead to good posture, well quit the excuses! All of us can practice good posture at any time of the day, it’s free and speaking to the professionals agree it’s been proven to prevent some of the most common back problems.
This is one of my favourite images that explains so clearly why we need good posture and a strong core base. We were intended to walk tall, run, be active and move.
However many of use spend hours sat everyday working on computer screens or sitting uncomfortably in traffic jams, thinking we’re contortionists as we squeeze onto the Tube and buses, we don’t move fluidly and correctly anymore.
One of the best illustrations of the ‘new mobile phone posture’ is seen here, straining to see mobile phones with the back of our heads at the same level as our shoulders – this is not really how our necks were designed to work!
Now take a look at this image and be honest – Which are you?
“But I don’t have the time to do my exercises” well leave ‘excuse-island’ and follow these simple steps
1) USE YOUR SENSES – Just take a minute to think about your posture, you’ll know yourself what feels correct, everyone remembers what we’ve been told about lifting our head and lengthening our spine. Also look at a child, they hold good posture automatically because they move constantly and haven’t picked up bad habits from years of lack of good quality movement.
2) ACTIVATE WHENEVER YOU MOVE – Activate the core, whenever you’re standing, walking, running, climbing or descending stairs, hold your abs in, you’re activating the core and by that I mean using the muscles which facilitate a ‘strong core’.
3) REVIEW DESK TIME – When sitting at your desk, are you in pain? Then change your posture, adjust or change your chair, re-position your computer screen to eye height, or try working at a standing desk. The human race did not evolve to sit at desks, we were intended to run and hunt.
4) VEHICLES – Think about your driving position, are you comfortable, is your position causing you pain when driving for lengthened periods of time? This includes cyclists, is it time you were assessed by a professional bike fitter?
5) DON’T ALLOW A MUMMY HIP – A personal favourite of mine! Don’t carry little ones on the same hip, alternate sides. I know one side will always feel stronger, offer more security and just sit perfectly, but don’t do it. Alternate and avoid sending things out of alignment.
6) ANKLE SPRAINS – Following an ankle sprain we might think of them as “just an ankle sprain” however its the same as a tooth ache, you stop chewing on one side of your mouth and posture is the same except you favour one leg. This upsets the balance of the body and can lead to real postural and pain issues later on. Get that ankle sorted is the advice from our own Neil Maclean-Martin “as a Physio it is very clear when someone’s posture has been affected by an injury to the ankle, knee or hip and they are compensating. Left untreated this can lead to arthritis and other unnecessary mechanical pain”
So if you are in pain don’t keep it to yourself, go and see a professional, speak to a movement expert like a Physiotherapist, Osteopath, a specialist in Biomechanics, a Bike fitter, just do it and don’t allow bad posture to turn into something more sinister – it can be fixed.
If you’d more information for free, sign up for our free trial and watch the core section in any of our programmes. Allow Neil to explain real-time how to assess, correct and strength your core muscles, essential for promoting a strong core.
Now check your posture!