All about posture
Growing up my Dad would always say to me ‘put your shoulders back!’ I used to think this was very annoying, and I didn’t see any reason to worry about how I was standing, sitting, or where my shoulders were sitting.
Fast forward three decades and I find myself saying this to clients more and more (its amazing how we become our parents :-)). Posture is one of those areas that people recognise as needing to be ‘good’, but most people don’t really understand what ‘good’ posture is, and what it means if you don’t maintain a good position.
What is good posture?
The first point I want to address about posture is that it involves your entire body, not just your shoulders. Good posture occurs when your joints are properly aligned and you can maintain good posture with minimal effort (i.e. you are strong enough to maintain the upright position your body was intended to be in).
What causes poor posture?
What takes us away from good posture and towards poor posture is nothing more than muscle fatigue (unless it is an existing abnormality, which is beyond the scope of this blog). Postural muscle is the same as any muscle, it fatigues with continued use. Each time we move away from proper alignment we are forced to recruit postural muscle in an attempt to maintain correct positioning, and these muscles will fatigue due to continued use.
A well-recognised example of this at work is sitting in a desk chair for lengthy periods. We weren’t designed for 8 hours at a desk to begin with, and so as the day goes on and gravity bears down on us our postural muscles fatigue due to continued use.
This results in a vicious cycle where we move farther and farther away from more upright positioning, and into positions that lead to strain, tension, and in some cases, pain.
How can we improve posture?
What is key to helping you improve your posture is to change routine to allow frequent breaks away from the position causing discomfort. To do this, try the following:
1. Set your alarm: set your phone alarm to go off every 2 hours. When it does, stand up from your desk for 5-10 minutes, and perform the stretches outlined in these three videos.
c. Wall angels
2. Repeat daily: this is a practice that will help to improve and maintain good posture, as long as you make it a regular part of your day. If you miss a day don’t worry about it, just get in the practice of doing it as many days as you can. Your work colleagues may look at you strangely, but when they are moaning about their sore backs you can forward them this blog.
To learn more about healthy eating habits to achieve your fitness goals, contact James Staring, a leading personal trainer in Clapham, London.
ABOUT JAMES STARING
James Staring is a personal trainer based in Clapham, London. His methods have featured in publications such as Your Fitness, Hello, Healthy, Daily Mail, Closer, and many more. After giving up smoking and entering the fitness industry in 2009, James has focused on his passion to help others transform their health and fitness. However, James is convinced that most people struggle so much more than they need to in an effort to improve their fitness. Through his company, Fit to Last, which he runs with his partner, Ali Page – James has helped hundreds of men and women make small adjustments in their daily habits to transform their fitness and to love how they look and feel.