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Monday, 10 November 2014

How to Improve Your Posture

 Good posture is an easy and very important way to maintain a healthy mind and body. When you practice correct posture, your body is in alignment with itself. This can alleviate common problems such as back or neck pain, headaches, and fatigue. Being in good general health and standing (or sitting) tall will also boost your bearing and self confidence. This article will show you several ways to develop and maintain good posture. Being able to assess someone's posture could also lead you to reasoning behind an injury. Also, if a patient is having a knee, hip, or ankle problem it could be stemming from other parts of the body. Assessing posture can help us locate these problems. The first thing one does when assessing posture is look at the person's gait when they walk in. Do not tell the patient that you are assessing their posture because this will immediately alter their posture. When assessing posture, one should look bilaterally to see if there is any change from side to side. This includes muscle mass, definition, height of body parts, and any faults in the posture. One should be assessed from the front, back, side, while walking, and while sitting.

  1. Improve Your Posture Step 1.jpg
    1 Identify good posture. Good posture is nothing more than keeping your body in alignment. Good posture while standing is a straight back, squared shoulders, chin up, chest out, stomach in, feet forward, your hips and knees in a neutral position. If you can draw a straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee, to the middle of your ankle—–you've got it. To find yours:
    • Using a mirror, align your ears, shoulders, and hips. Proper alignment places your ears loosely above your shoulders and above your hips. Again, these points make a straight line, but the spine itself curves in a slight 'S'. You'll find that this doesn't hurt at all. If you do experience pain, look at your side view in a mirror to see if you're forcing your back into an unnatural position. If you do not have pain, then posture should not be altered, because this could cause other problems.
    • The spine has two natural curves that you need to maintain called the 'double C' or 'S' curves. These curves of the back are also called lordotic and kyphotic. A lordotic curve is a curve in the lumbar spine, and when there is a increases angle this is called lordosis of the lumbar spine.A kyphotic curve is present in the thoracic spine, but when this curve exceeds 50 degrees it is called kyphosis of the thoracic spine.These are the curves found from the base of your head to your shoulders and the curve from the upper back to the base of the spine. When standing straight up, make sure that your weight is evenly distributed on your feet. You should feel comfortable in this position in order to correctly asses your posture.
  2. Improve Your Posture Step 2.jpg
2 Train your muscles to do the work. Exercises that strengthen the muscles across your upper back and shoulders will help you to maintain good posture. You don't need to develop a body builder physique—–it's more important to build "muscle memory" so that you unconsciously and naturally maintain correct posture without fatigue. When you lift weights, you should exercise the agonist and antagonist muscles evenly. This means that you should exercise your hamstrings as much as your quadriceps, chest as much as your back, and so on. This will help with correct posture. Try the following, with or without hand weights:
  • Exercise One
    • Square your posture, head upright, so that your ears are aligned over your shoulders.
    • Raise both arms straight out, alongside your ears, palms up.
    • Bend forearms in and back, toward shoulders, in an effort to touch your shoulder blades with your fingertips.
    • Do ten repetitions with both arms, then alternate ten reps for each arm singularly.
  • Exercise Two
    • Align ears with shoulders as in Exercise One.
    • Raise both arms out to sides at shoulder height, and hold for a slow count of ten.
    • Slowly lower arms to sides, counting ten as you lower.
    • Slowly raise arms back to shoulder height, counting to ten as you raise arms.
    • Do ten reps, constantly checking your alignment with each rep. If ten reps are too many to start, do as many as you can. You should at least feel a slight fatigue in the shoulder muscles.
Improve Your Posture Step 3.jpg

3 Be a penguin. While you wait for a web page to load or the bread to toast, place your elbows at your side, and touch your shoulders with your hands.
  • Keeping your hands on your shoulders and your ears aligned, raise both elbows (count one, two) and lower them back down (count one, two). Do as many reps as your wait allows. You'll be surprised how much exercise fits into 30 seconds.
Improve Your Posture Step 4.jpg

4 Do stretches. This can greatly help if you find that you have a sore back or neck. It's also good to do during the day, if your job requires you to sit for long periods.
  • Tilt or stretch your head in all four directions over your shoulders (forward, back, left, right), and gently massage your neck. Avoid rolling in a circle, as it may cause further strain.
  • On your hands and knees, curl your back upwards, like a cat, and then do the opposite. Think about being able to place a bowl in the hollow of your back.
  • Repeat the exercises a few times each day. Doing them in the morning helps your body stretch out the muscle lethargy of sleep. Done periodically throughout the day, it will help to raise your energy level without a heavy workout.

Improve Your Posture Step 5.jpg

5 Practice yoga. Yoga is excellent for posture, and for your health in general. It can also improve your balance. Yoga works your core muscles, making them stronger and helping you to keep a proper body alignment.
  • Yoga will also help by teaching you on how to hold an erect posture while sitting, standing, and walking. Look for classes in your area, or scout YouTube for instructional videos.



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