This Saturday May 30th 2015 I will be hosting a 3 hour workshop at the YWCA downtown (1:30-4:30). The workshop is titled Core and Posture Fit.
Why am I so passionate about posture? Why do I want you to get this information?
I see people all day with rounded shoulders, one shoulder uneven from the other, headaches from tight neck muscles, heads poking forward, low back pain, one sided knee pain, etc. The list goes on and on!
What do people usually do? Maybe head for a massage, or heat their injured area, maybe go to physio or chiro. Sure- all of these things will help, but you are constantly relying on someone to help you! What about if I showed you how to sit properly at your desk, stand properly all day, and actual exercises you can do in the gym to maintain proper posture.
I don’t get how anyone over time would maintain good posture without doing these exercises, stretches, and foam rolling techniques. Unless you are a trained dancer, or someone who thinks about their body position all day, you really need to train the muscles of the body to hold you in good posture without thinking about it too much.
So that’s why I designed this workshop! Eliminate neck pain and headaches, sit and stand taller to look more confident, eliminate back pain from our society and keep people injury free!
So in this blog today let’s just look a little bit at your current posture and I will share with you a tip or two that I will be talking about on Saturday.
Exercise to see your current posture:
To see how you stand currently, try this activity: Jump around (in bare feet), up in the air a few times and shake out your arms and legs. Stop jumping and land however it feels natural. Have a friend take a photo from the front and side positions. Look at your toes and thumbs, and head position. Most likely your toes will be pointed out to the side, your head will be not stacked over your hips, and your thumbs may even be rotated to the back of the room because your shoulders have become rounded and tight. You are probably leaning forward, which means your ears are over your toes instead of over your shoulders.
- All of the postures in the photo above are faulty (expect for the far right). As you can see in each example the pelvis is either anterior or posterior tilted. When our pelvis doesn’t sit neutrally, over time our hip flexors become short and tight, pulling our hips further out of position. Moving with poor posture and sitting extensively causes the glute (butt) muscles to become weak from sitting all the time. In this position we can’t properly engage our glute muscles, or our core muscles, and our hip flexors will often give us trouble. When happens when we can’t properly engage our core? BACK PAIN! In other cases the hamstrings (back of the legs) are too tight, pulling our pelvis posterior. Take note of these faulty postures and try not to fall into them throughout the day. If your posture has become naturally faulty it’s time to stretch and strengthen your way out of it! Other faulty posture positions include:
- Forward head posture from straining to look forward. The most common reasons we fall into forward head posture is because we allow our chin to fall forward and our head down as we look at a cell phone or computer screen for most of the day. Pay close attention to how you are holding your head by maintaining your ears held over your shoulders. Have your monitor adjusted to the right heat and distance for you.
- Rounded shoulders are created by weak and loose middle and lower trapezius (mid back muscles) that normally pull the shoulder blades back and down into position. As a result the upper neck muscles are doing an excess amount of stabilizing of the shoulder blade, and are being stretched out of their position. These neck muscles are the ones that cause a lot of tension headaches and neck pain! If you put your hands on the sides of your neck and down into your upper back you may feel some rock hard muscles- your upper neck is overused! They are now sore and weak. To compound that the front chest muscles have become tighter and tighter over time (due to the rounding of the shoulders), pulling the shoulders continually forward. The muscles between the shoulder blades have also been over worked from the shoulder blades being pulled forward, and are now tight and weak. The photo below outlining the “upper crossed syndrome” explains how our various muscles become tight and weak throughout the body with rounded shoulders and forward head posture.
- The shoulders are often high (collar bones are not laying vertically on the chest) because the upper neck muscles are tight from overcompensating for movement of the shoulder blade.
- In poor posture and limited ranges of motion our spine becomes inflexible rather than keeping the discs between our vertebra nourished and fluid, they end up hardening over time. People lose their ability extend and flex the spine (bend forward and lean back from the hips).
Poor posture can lead to:
- Neck problems
- Lack of fitness and strength due to faulty biomechanics leading to weak muscles
- Muscle weakness, and tingling of the arms
- Compressed nerves and blood flow to the extremities
- Constant aches and pains throughout the body
- Inability to perform every day movements, especially without pain.
- As well as many other injuries/issues.
- Inability to lift things properly because the wrong muscles are taking over!
There are exercises, stretches, and foam rolling techniques you can do regularly to improve posture, on top of whatever work you do with other medical practitioners. In general we need to stretch the chest and front neck muscles, while strengthening our back muscles. The back muscles need myofascial release and some stretching, but not because they are tight- they are in fact over stretched (lengthened). The back muscles also need to be strengthened to hold our good posture once we find it!
Although there was a lot of anatomy and technical terms in this post, I hope you still learned something from it. If you would like to continue your education about posture then join my class on Saturday! Call 604-895-5777 to register with member services today.
I hope to see you there!
Ps- Don’t worry, I know I have been talking a lot about posture lately, but stay tuned to a greater variety of posts!