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Health and Wellbeing

08 Oct 2015

Health and Wellbeing Image

How good is your posture?

Posture

One of the major areas I focus on when designing an exercise program for any client is posture. It is essential that an assessment is conducted and then a suitable program put in place to address areas of weakness and tightness (flexibility). So what is posture you may ask?

“Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture involves training the body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments.”

Poor posture can cause many problems. These include rounded shoulders, chin poke, headaches, back pain, spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration and increase pressure put on other muscles, ligaments and tendons – just to name a few!

One analogy I like to use is that trying to improve and work on your posture is a bit like having a wheel alignment for your car. Sure you can turn your steering wheel to the left or right slightly and the car will still drive straight, but over time this will lead to extra wear and tear on the car.

Likewise we can continue to sit, stand and even exercise with poor posture or continue to perform exercises incorrectly and often too fast and/or heavy but we will then further inflict damage to our bodies.

Living or working in Southbank we often see many young students of ballet and they often serve as a great reminder of how to walk and stand tall as they possess great deportment and posture.

Strength

To maintain or improve our posture, we must ensure that we work on strengthening our relevant muscles and, on the other hand, stretch our tight areas. By doing this we maintain a good balance.

A good and common everyday example is that many of us have rounded shoulders. As a personal trainer this tells me that more-than-likely anyone with rounded shoulders will have tight chest muscles and need to strengthen their upper back musculature. So, in effect, our strength and flexibility work in an opposing manner. Tight muscles are shortened and require stretching whilst lengthened muscles require strengthening and shortening.

Flexibility – stretching

Stretching allows us to lengthen our muscles and help release tight areas. It is an area easily and often overlooked by most and can be improved by as little as five minutes of stretching a day.

Many people end up with injuries from over-straining muscles when, due to inflexibility, they push past a certain limited range of motion. This range of motion can be improved by stretching and whether you are an avid exerciser or not, the beauty of stretching is that we can all do some on our own and with no equipment.

In saying that, there are many great ways to keep active, improve posture and reduce the chance of injury and these can include yoga, Pilates and body balance classes.

Justin Moran

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