Perfect Posture-A Thing of Beauty

Bad-Posture-339x1024

When I teach people about posture, they often look as though they are guilty and then make an attempt at standing straight. This usually works for about 30 seconds, until they go back into round-backed slouching over territory.

Part of the problem is that posture is partially unconscious. We would do well to focus on and become more aware of our posture. This would be an excellent first step in the right direction, but this alone will not solve the entire problem of poor posture. My wife has excellent posture, as she is often aware of perception and objective reality. She is aware about standing straight and is aware of what poor posture looks like and the negative outcomes of having poor posture. This she says, is a great motivator in having good posture.

In our practice at Riverwalk Chiropractic, we take clinical pictures and evaluate our patients’ posture. It is surprising how poorly most people stand even when they believe they are doing a good job! With the help of chiropractic care, many people have successfully strengthened their posture. The path to better posture consists of three steps:

1) Becoming aware of where we are

2) Becoming aware of where we should be

3) Retraining the body to move and balance differently through exercise and chiropractic care.

Step 1: Posture Consciousness

Have a friend take a picture of your posture, or, if you are local to Basking Ridge, have us do it for you. We can evaluate it and email you the results. You will probably be amazed. Another idea-stand in front of a mirror with your eyes closed. Then open your eyes, take a long, hard, conscious look at your posture. Observe what is level, what is not, and the difference between both sides of your body.

Step 2: Wrong vs. Strong

If you are able to stand, you are, by definition, balanced. How well you are balanced is a different question. Posture is how you balance your body. The goal for strong posture is to achieve the best biomechanical alignment of the body where all muscles and joints work as well as possible. This is a dynamic, not a static state. Posture is a trade-off between flexibility and stability. Weakly balanced posture requires more effort to stay up straight, resulting in mechanical stress and joint wear.

So, posture is about more than just standing straight, and improving posture is more than throwing one’s shoulders back. Improving posture means strengthening how the body balances and how it moves.

Step 3: Retrain Your Body

By strengthening your posture with 10 minutes a day of posture exercises, along with regular chiropractic care, you can stand taller, have less pain, and even age better. Daily posture exercises create an awareness of body placement and help stretch shortened ligaments and muscles. Stronger posture also helps to alleviate back and neck pain and headaches in some patients.

Two Easy Posture Exercises

The Inner Winner: Stand straight and tall with your head high. Put your ears, shoulders, hips and knees in a straight line. Pull your belly button in toward your spine. While you are here for a minute, take a few deep breaths in and out. This is mainly an exercise to bring your awareness to your stance. I’ve added in the deep breathing to help with stress relief!

The Eagle: Stand as in  “Inner Winner”. Put your arms straight out to the side like a T, pulling your shoulders toward the back slightly. Breath air in and slowly raise your arms overhead until your hands touch together over your head. Breath air out slowly and lower your arms to your side. Repeat for a few minutes, slowly and mindfully. Don’t rush through this.

Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments. Thanks for reading!

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~ by danclaps on December 25, 2012.

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