Posture - and Why it’s Important

Many of us suffer with 'poor posture' - but what is it?

Slouching over a desk, or in the car can lead to a forward head position which can put stress and strain on the neck, leading to shoulder ache and headaches. The muscles at the front of the body become short and weak, whilst the muscles in the upper back become long and weak.

When you slouch you take in less oxygen which can cause fatigue, and reduce levels of focus and concentration.

Using good posture will make you more stable on your feet, able to change directions quickly as needed, improving balance and reducing your risk of falls. And let's not forget, it's said good posture can make us look 10lbs lighter - that's my kind of weight loss!

How can we correct it?

Surely chest up, shoulders back is the thing? Well, not really. To stand upright with a military stance can be just as difficult for the body to accommodate as slouching.

Really, we want to find a balance where the weight rests evenly between the feet, where the pelvis is settled at level, like a bowl of water, hip bones facing forward (this encourages a long, natural curve in the lower back, reducing tension and back pain), ribs softly dropped but breastbone lifted, shoulders open and wide, upper back open, shoulder blades drawing gently down the back, hands resting at the side seams, chin  slightly retracted with the neck long.

That's a lot of instruction just to stand well. And for many people, will feel very odd to begin with. But the effort will worth it.

If you need more help and advice, find yourself a good Pilates or yoga teacher who will help you find a good posture that works for you.

EssentialsMAG fitness contributor is Helen Conway from Bodywork Pilates
Tel: 01978 512401

Victoria Lee