TO IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE
What is posture?
Posture is the positioning of your body. Ideal posture is the correct alignment of the body in relation to the activity being performed and the requirements of the body to complete the action.
How does your posture get bad?
We are creatures of habit. We do the same things day in and day out—without realizing that over time these things have a negative effect. Whether it’s spending too much time sitting, crossing your legs, working on a computer, sitting on your wallet, carrying your purse on the same shoulder, wearing high heels, slouching, or looking down at your phone; each of these actions cause your posture to slowly deteriorate. Because the impact is so incremental, you don't realize these habits have a profound effect on the structure and stability of your neuromusculoskeletal system which affects your quality of life, health, and self-confidence. Then, one day you look in the mirror and realize that your body is out of sync - your neck is out of alignment, your shoulders are rounded, and posterior pelvic tilt has set in along with all the aches and pains that come along with poor posture.
Why is posture important?
If ignored, bad posture can and will cause all sorts of problems, including daily aches and pains, poor lifting form, muscular imbalances, and negative self-image. The correction of bad posture will help improve all of these issues.
Below is a review of the most common posture issues, their causes and the corrective exercises to resolve them.
Forward Head Posture
Cause and effect:
Generally, a forward head posture develops as part of the modern “computer posture or text neck” and from leaning forward to complete everyday tasks such as working on a computer, cooking, reading, studying, and using a mobile phone. Over time, the development of forward head posture gives the appearance of a “turtle” neck, with the head protruding forward in front of the shoulders.
Start with your shoulders rolled back and down.
Look straight ahead, place two fingers on your chin, slightly tuck your chin and move your head back.
Hold for two to five seconds and then release.
Repeat 10 times. Perform 3 sets.
Cause and effect:
Round shoulders develop from daily tasks like sitting front of a computer, driving for long periods, and looking at your phone. Tight chest muscles pull your shoulders forward causing them to round. When you add a weak back and rotator cuff muscles to the mix, you have nothing to help counteract this rounding. If left untreated, it can cause pain through the back and neck, and contribute to overall bad posture.
Using an open door frame, place your bent arms against either side of the door with your elbows in line with your shoulders. Adopt a staggered stance and push your chest forward until you feel a stretch in the chest. Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds or until the muscles relax.
Repeat this three times.
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Cause and effect:
Anterior pelvic tilt is another way of saying your pelvis is tilted forward. It’s caused by sitting incorrectly, weak or inactive hamstrings and glutes, and tight quadriceps and hip flexors. The glutes, hamstrings and abdominals work to rotate the hips backwards, which results in a more upright posture and flatter stomach. Naturally, when they are weak or inactive, they contribute to the hips rotating forward. Tight hip flexors and quads make this problem worse by pulling on your hips, rotating them forward and causing anterior pelvic tilt.
Anterior pelvic tilt varies in severity. If you have it, your lower back arch is pronounced, your butt sticks out, and your stomach protrudes forward. If left untreated, it can also cause pain and tightness throughout the body.
Stretch Hip Flexors
Get in a lunge position. Maintaining an upright body position, squeeze your glute muscle on the back leg and push the hips forwards. To increase the stretch, bring your arms up overhead.
Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and do 3 sets.
Posterior Pelvic Tilt
Cause and effect:
Posterior pelvic tilt is the opposite of anterior pelvic tilt, where your pelvis has tilted backwards. This is caused by sitting too much, slouching, tight hamstrings, tight glutes, weak hip flexors and weak quadriceps. With posterior pelvic tilt your lose the normal lordosis in the low back which contributes to low back pain and stiffness.
Put your toes up against a wall, with your heel on the floor, and keep your knee locked. Lean back by sticking your butt out until you feel a stretch in your hamstring. Get your shoulders back and down and lean forward as if you are trying to get your chest as close to the wall as possible. Then look up towards the ceiling and hold that pose for 10 seconds and perform 3 sets per leg. In this pose you are addressing posterior pelvic tilt by stretching your hamstrings while recreating a normal lumbar curve. At the same time you are getting your shoulders back and down to reverse rounded shoulders and restoring the normal cervical curve to combat forward head posture.
Cross Crawl Exercises
What is Cross Crawl?
Therapeutically, cross crawl refers to any intentional opposition activity such as crawling, walking, running and swimming. Cross Crawling facilitates balanced nerve activation across the corpus callosum - the part of your brain that connects the right and left hemispheres. When done on a regular basis, more nerve networks form and more connection are made in the corpus callosum, thus making communication between the two hemispheres faster and more integrated for high level reasoning. Performing these exercises allows electrical impulses and information to pass freely between the two hemispheres, which is essential for physical coordination as well as cerebral activities, such as learning language, reading, and hand-to-eye coordination. Any time you do cross crawl, you are re-integrating your brain and nervous system and re-organizing your mind-body connections.
Cross Crawl exercises should be performed very slowly. When the exercise is done slowly, it requires more fine motor involvement and balance.
Benefits of Cross Crawl:
Restores proper tone and coordination of spinal muscles – corrects posture
Stabilizes your walking gait coordination – builds core strength
Energizes your body and calms your mind – releases tension and stress
Improves your eye teaming skills – essential for focus, reading, and writing
Enhances whole brain thinking – your left and right hemispheres work together
Develops proprioception – your spatial and kinesthetic awareness
It's no secret that our posture, sedentary lifestyle, and bad movement patterns put too much stress on the lower spine and the small back muscles. Foundation training is based on the simple but unique idea that strengthening the posterior chain (multifidi, erector spinae, and quadratus lumborum) allows the strong muscles in your back to do their job of supporting the weight of the upper body and propelling movement. These exercises are designed to change destructive movement patterns and build a powerful posterior chain, which begins with a strong lower back.
With Foundation training you are building a solid muscular base. From there you can go anywhere with flexibility, power, and endurance. Once you learn to move properly, there are few limits to what you can achieve physically. Living without pain will boost your energy level and improve your well being. So get moving - the right way - and see how much better you feel.
Standing Cross Crawl
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Slowly lift your right arm and left knee up simultaneously, then slowly bring them down. Then bring your left arm and right knee up, then slowly bring them down. Perform this for 12 repetitions.