Improve Your Posture In 1 2 3 (Part 1)

Posture

Freeze; now take a look at yourself. Are you slouching in your chair, shoulders rolled forward, head sticking forward? Yes! Then this post is definitely for you. If not, there’s no harm in reading on. Today’s topic is posture. The modern lifestyle is destroying our physique. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, sofas the list is endless. Although they all have a great purpose in our lives they can be the cause of so many aches and pains. We as individuals need to take precautions, so that we do not put untoward pressure on our bodies.

Correct Posture

Okay, so if you have back pains there are many preventative measures that you can adopt that can make a big difference. It won’t be easy but it’s definitely worth it. So first we need to know what correct posture is and how we can achieve and maintain correct posture at all times. I will break this down into two sections, standing posture and sitting posture.

Standing posture

  1. Set the pelvis in the correct position by:
    1. Standing up straight with your feet hip width apart
    2. Feet should be pointing slightly inwards
    3. Squeeze the butt as hard as you can, this will move the pelvis into its perfect position
    4. Next create 20% tension in the belly
    5. Now relax your butt and maintain the tension in the belly at all times
  2. Now rotate the shoulders and arms back, hands facing away from your body to the side (your arms should be straight)
  3. Now release the shoulders and bring your arms to the side of your body with your thumbs

Sitting position

  1. Knees should be bent at 90 degree angles
  2. There should be a slight arch inwards in the lower spine
  3. And a arch in slightly at the neck
  4. Create 20% tension in the belly
  5. Now rotate the shoulders and arms back, hands facing away from your body to the side (your arms should be straight)
  6. Now release the shoulders and bring your arms to the side of your body with your thumbs facing forward.
  7. The elbows should be bent at 90 degrees if you are working at your desk
  8. Your wrists should not be higher than the elbows as this will reduce blood flow and cause problems in the wrists
  9. If you are at your desk, you should be looking directly at 70% from the bottom of the screen

There you have it. Maintaining proper posture at all times will have an amazing impact on your physique. Not only that but you will look much more attractive and happier. It will be hard to stay in this posture for a long time if you currently have a bad posture but with time this will be much easier. Soon you will be sitting and standing perfectly without thinking about it. But I have to stress that it will definitely not be easy, your body may not be used to this correct posture and you will therefore need to constantly remember to go through the steps and realign your body. Remembering to straighten your posture is hard. That is why I created an illustration; you guys can download it, save it as a desktop background or print it out and stick it where ever you want to remind you to correct your posture. I hope it helps and its free so why not.

Download posture-steps Background (222 downloads)

Exercises

Exercise is very important for a good posture because the muscular system holds the skeleton in place. So it is vital to strengthen the muscles. Before starting any exercise it is essential to warm up. Running on the spot moving arms in a circular motion and jumping jacks can be effective.

Back Bow

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms up besides your head.
  2. Now lift your arms and legs as high as you can, creating an arch in your back. You will feel your arms, back, glutes and thighs tensing. Hold for a few seconds
  3. Then lower your arms and legs back down to the ground.
  4. And repeat
  5. Do this for 10 reps

The swimmer

This exercise is like the Back bow but instead of lifting both arms and legs together you will lift the left arm and right leg and then the right arm and left leg, replicating a swimming motion.

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms up besides your head.
  2. Now lift your left arm and right leg as high as you can, hold for a second
  3. Now lower the left arm and right leg and lift your right arm and left leg
  4. Repeat step 2 and step 3 twenty times. It should be a smooth motion raising alternate limbs simultaneously.

The Kneeling Superman

This exercise is similar to the swimmer.

  1. Kneel down on your hands and knees. Make sure your back is not hunched or over arched, just keep it straight.
  2. Now straighten and raise your left arm in front of you and straighten and raise your right leg. Go as far as you can.
  3. Now lower your left arm and right leg to the kneeling position as you straighten and raise your right arm in front and straighten and raise you left leg.
  4. Repeat step 2 and step 3 twenty times. It should be a smooth motion raising alternate limbs simultaneously.

The Prone Cobra

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms by your side, palms down.
  2. Place your arms out to the sides
  3. Contract your glutes and the muscles of your lower back, and raise your head, chest, arms and legs off the floor. Pushing back with your arms.
  4. Simultaneously rotate your arms so that your thumbs point toward the ceiling. At this time, your hips should be the only part of your body touching the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds.
  5. Now relax bring your body back to the starting position and repeat for 10 reps

The Founder

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
  2. Hips pulling back with your weight on your heels (the bum should not be in line with the feet but slightly back as if you are about to sit down)
  3. Knees should be slightly bent just above the ankles
  4. Here you should feel the lower back tensing
  5. Lift the chest up and straighten the spine (your upper body from your hips should not be 100% vertical but at a slight angle forward)
  6. Bring your arms all the way up
  7. Hold for two breaths
  8. Now push the hips further back, keep the knees bent and stretching all the way down to the ground (the whole upper body should not move but rather the movement should come from the hips, the lower back will slightly bend when you have fully stretched) You will feel a stretch in the hamstrings.
  9. Remember to always be on the heels, even to the point of raising the toes slightly
  10. Hold for two breaths
  11. Pull the hips up and out (this will stretch the hamstrings)
  12. Hold for two breaths
  13. On your second breath when you exhale, bring your hands to your shins, extend your spine, keep your arms straight
  14. Hold for two breaths
  15. Now push the arms straight back behind you (squeeze the shoulder blades together, chest out and take a deep breath). Your arms should be straight.
  16. Hold for two breaths
  17. Now as you exhale lift your arms up above your head (you should feel a lot of tension in the lower back)
  18. Hold for two breaths
  19. Now stand up
  20. Remember you can hold each pose for as long as you want to really feel the muscles working. But remember to hold each pose for the same amount of time. Repeat this exercise for 5 to 10 reps

So there you have it, 5 exercises to help improve your posture. They are all very good but the best of them is the “The Founder”. It works the whole back/hips/hamstring/ shoulder etc. Below are links to videos that demonstrate how these exercises are done. The videos do contain other exercises that are very useful so do check them out. Remember to check out part 2 of this post. In part 2 we will discuss stretching to help loosen up tight muscles and create a balance that will help keep the posture straight.

The Founder is an amazing exercise; I have found it to be very good for strengthening and stretching. It’s an all in one. What you should do is set up an exercise regime if you don’t already have one and incorporate these exercises, and if you do already have an exercise regime just include these exercises because they are super effective. And don’t stop doing the exercises once your aches and pains go away otherwise they’ll come right back. You have to really think about improving your lifestyle, fix your posture and exercise regularly and you will maintain a good physique.

If you want to get in touch please email me on juststarthealth@gmail.com. Make sure you comment, share and click that Subscribe button for all things Healthy.

 

Much Love,

JustStartHealth.com

 

[Note: This blog is only for informational purposes only. It is not medical advice or diagnosis. Please consult with a Health care practitioner before making any diet, nutrition changes or starting a new fitness program.]

 

Video on Posture (Must See Kelly Starrett)

 

 

Founder Exercise (Dr Eric Goodman)

Exercises to improve Posture (Reeece Tomlinson)

Upper and Lower Back Workout

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