Are you standing up correctly?

Do you spend a lot of time hunched over a desk or slumped on the sofa watching TV or reading a book? Even  standing we tend to slouch rather than hold ourselves upright. Yet our posture is so important in preventing back pain and also preventing injury whilst exercising. Bad posture can even be a cause of headaches.

When we are actually standing correctly then the spine is aligned so that the centre of gravity passes down the ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles.  This position is called neutral spine.

Here are some quick tips to ensure you are standing  with a neutral spine. Think about your pelvis as a bucket filled with water. If you tip the bucket either forwards or backwards then water will pour out. This is bad.

Firstly let’s find the two positions where water will flow!

  1. Stand sideways in front of a mirror.
  2. Place your hands on top of your pelvis, just below your waist (If you bend to the side, the crease that forms is your natural waistline)
  3. Soften your knees and roll your pelvis forward and towards the floor (your bottom should be sticking out)
  4. Now slowly roll your pelvis backward dropping your tailbone to the floor
  5. These two are the extremes and what you are trying to find is the place in the middle where the bucket (your pelvis) is not tilting in either direction.

Practice finding this position and how it feels, it will probably feel odd at first. Do this several times a day so you get used to it.

Other things to remember

  • Your shoulders don’t belong by your ears! Relax and keep the shoulders back and down and chest up.
  • Look forwards.

The next blog post will discuss how you keep this position!

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

Helen Witcomb is a personal trainer in the Farnham area, please go here Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over 50s. for more information. This will open a new browser window.

Two exercises to improve posture.

Poor posture can lead to all sorts of problems and increase your risk of falling, however there are exercises that practiced regularly can help you improve your posture and feel more comfortable. 
The Standing Wall Angel has already been documented in Resistance exercises using body weight and is excellent for improving posture,  the second exercise is Brugger’s Relief Exercise.

Standing Wall angel

  1. Stand flat up against a wall with your back to the wall and feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Press the small of your back into the wall and bend your arms to that the backs of your arms and hands are pressed against the wall at a 90-degree angle to your body. If you can’t get your arms against the wall do not arch your back just take elbows back until you feel a stretch.
  3. Move your arms up the wall, keeping your wrists and elbows pressed against the wall (if you can). You are aiming to get the hands together above the head, but again don’t worry if this isn’t possible yet just do the range of movement you are capable of.
  4. Lower hands to the starting position.

Repeat 10 times.

Brugger’s  Relief

      1. Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands by your sides.
      2. Lift your chest, arch your lower back slightly and point the crown of your head directly up at the ceiling — think tall.
      3. From this position, turn your palms outward and relax your shoulders down. This will pull your shoulders back and open up your chest.
      4. Look straight forward then try to retract your chin toward the back of your head without tilting your head backward
      5. Hold this position for 10 seconds whilst breathing normally and then relax for 10 seconds.

Repeat five times. Try and do this exercise several times a day, especially if you spend a lot of time at a desk or watching TV.

Good posture while sitting, standing and lifting can help you avoid pain, make your life more comfortable and avoid injury.

If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise and the over-50s please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

For more information on Personal Training please go to Whole Life Fitness, Personal Training for the over-50s This will open a new browser window.

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