Good posture doesn’t just look great. It’s vital for keeping our bones and joints in correct alignment so our muscles are used properly too!
Posture affects how you walk, run, jump, lift weights and execute other skills. Because of its many benefits, such as ease of movement, good balance of muscle strength and flexibility, it’s important to understand how to improve and maintain a proper postural alignment.
Otherwise, poor posture can seriously weaken our muscles, leading to pain and possible injury.
Improving your general posture:
- Remember the rule of ‘curve reversal’ – for example, if you’ve been leaning over your desk, stretch back the other way.
- Perform stretching exercises two or three times a week to boost muscle flexibility.
- Exercise regularly to improve muscle strength and tone.
- Stretch your neck muscles regularly by turning your head from one side to another.
- Your abdominal muscles support your lower back, so make sure they are in good condition. Do ‘abdominal crunches’ (lie on your back and curl your ribcage and pelvis as close together as possible) rather than straight-backed sit-ups (which exercise the muscles of the hips and thighs).
- Avoid standing on one foot for long periods of time.
- Cross your legs at the ankle, rather than the knee.
Maintaining good posture
- Avoid sitting in soft, squashy chairs.
- Use lumbar rolls to support your lower back when sitting in regular chairs or driving the car.
- Switch to ergonomic chairs in the office or for any activity that requires you to sit for long periods of time.
- Make sure your mattress is supportive enough to keep your spine straight when lying on your side.
- Use a pillow that supports your neck.
- Keep your back straight and use your thigh muscles when lifting heavy weights.