We all slouch at times.
Well maybe not my husband.
His dad used to poke him in the back when he was young, to make him sit up straight. So now he has amazing tall straight posture.
It’s inspiring to see him sitting up straighter than me when we are at dinner or on the couch having our morning coffee!
Many parents used to make us pull our shoulders back or stand up straight and tall.
This is fantastic to prevent slouching.
However standing up too straight and poking out our chest can sometimes make us loose connection to our centre, our core, making us over arch and letting our ribs pop out.
I see this a lot, in fact I used to do it myself.
There’s a happy medium we need to find – in standing tall and not over arching our back.
Think about Goldilocks’ porridge, not too hot, not too cold. Just right!
Correcting this overarching and lack of core connection, often mean connecting more in the front of the tummy area, where the rectis abdominis (our 6 pack – yes it is under there!) attaches to the ribs. It can also mean having to shift the rib cage forward sometime if it has moved backwards behind the pelvis.
I recently worked on this very topic with one of my my Core Fit Club members, Pratima, in an online coaching session.
Check out her before and after posture analysis shots here…as well as some of my other clients I have worked with in the past.
Good posture not only helps us look slimmer, taller and more confident, it also helps us breathe properly and effects our mood.
When we slouch we restrict our breathing, this can cause us to shallow breathe and then feel anxious or stressed.
Slouching also effects our mood. If we are looking down, and our posture is downward or rounded, we often feel down emotionally. When we stand tall, proud, we feel more confident and happy.
Poor posture can also cause pain in the body, as it often creates imbalance in the muscles. e.g. if we are over arching, we are less connected to our core and we are generally over using our back muscles. Or if we are rounded in the shoulders and not balanced in our back and neck muscles, this can cause neck pain and tension, leading to headaches and migraines.
Here are 3 tips you can try today, to help improve your posture.
- Avoid hyperextending your knees.
Hyperextending means locking your knees, or pushing back into the legs and knees, so you are going beyond straight or neutral in the joint. Keeping what we call a “soft knee’ or ‘soft bend’ in the knee, and all joints at all times, is important. If we lock the joint we hang in ligaments and tendons and we don’t work the muscles. When we lock the legs we often throw the pelvis out of alignment and therefore we can’t properly engage the core muscles. It also sometimes throws our pelvis forward and this means we also let go of our core connection.
- Avoid anterior or posterior tilted pelvis.
Anterior pelvis means either sticking your bottom out so you look arched in the lower back (anterior tilt) or Posterior pelvis means tucking your bottom under so you look flatter in the lower back (posterior tilt). Ideally you will keep a neutral pelvis position, which will keep your core naturally connected and support your back, it will mean you keep your tummy naturally engaged more and prevent the lower belly popping out. To read more about the pelvis position check our this previous blog post
- Avoid popping your ribs.
This often occurs when we over arch the back or pull our shoulders back and our ribs then sometimes stick out. This is when our core is not properly engaged. Make sure the ribs are sitting directly over the hips. This will help you engage the core and the muscles that connect from the pelvis to the ribs; the rectis abdominis (6 pack muscles). You will feel more connected to your centre if you’re feeling the ribs connect to the hips and the ribs sit over the pelvis. This often prevents back pain and sometimes makes you look slimmer, just because you have encaged your core properly.
- BONUS TIP
Feel like there is a string attached to your head and someone is pulling you up the the ceiling with the string. This makes you stand taller, it will help to realign your body naturally. Helping to put all the body parts in place where they should be!
Pilates as a form of regular exercise is a great way to help balance our posture. We are always focusing on correcting postural imbalances in the practice.
I also teach lots about standing posture in my online Core Fit Club Online Pilates Studio Membership.
To find out more you can click here >> The Core Fit Club
Lots of love and see you again soon on the Mat!
PS: Let me know if these tips have been helpful in the comments below and let me know if you have any questions at all.
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