Technology has become our enemy…computers and smart phones have transformed us from standing active individuals to sedentary folk who sit at a desk most of the day. Have you looked at the spine of a teenager lately? They tend to lean forward, with rounded shoulders and a straining neck, looking down at their smart phone, tablet, laptop, MP3 device, etc. Posture is the foundation or core to a state of balance in the body. Poor posture can lead to a decrease in performance, chronic pain and/or nagging injuries. Here are a few tips to improving posture:
- Sit up straight or practice standing tall as in Mountain Pose. Keep your shoulder blades pulled back and down (try to put them in your back pockets); keep your chest elevated; pull your belly button up and in using your abdominal muscles; imagine a straight line drawn down from your ear to your ankle – the line should come in contact with your ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle.
- Drink more water – Dehydration causes fatigue, fatigue can cause poor posture. Eat and drink often to fuel your body.
- Strengthen your upper back/posterior shoulder muscles. Postural muscles are endurance muscles, meaning as the day progresses they will begin to develop fatigue and not respond as quickly as they did earlier in the day. Add these strengthening exercises to your routine for 30 days and see how much better you feel and straighter you stand! Perform 2 sets of 15 repetitions every other day beginning with no weight. As they become easier, progress in one pound increments, maxing out at 5 pounds. Lay on a stability ball or off the edge of a bench on your stomach. The following four exercises are named based on the letter of the alphabet your body appears to make from above.
Y – Lift your arms up at a 45 degree angle.
T – Lift your arms up to the side.
W – Start in the chicken dance position and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
L – Bend your elbows until they are in line with your shoulders, then rotate or lift your hands to the ceiling.
If you are ready to progress your program, check out these additional exercises at http://www.coreperformance.com/daily/one-small-change/the-better-posture-workout.html.