Just a quick thought about improving posture...
While improving posture may or may not be on the list of goals Pilates participants, it might be because posture improvement isn't what they want, but rather the BENEFITS of correcting bad posture, which include: Reduced back and neck pain, less stress on all the body's joints (spine, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles), easier breathing in daily life & sport activities, shoulders that are no longer wrapped around the ears, ease of movement for daily living - walking, stairs, standing, sitting in front of the computer, driving, enhanced recreational & sports performance, and reduced risk of injury.
Improved posture means reduced stress - physical, emotional, and mental! If the body is in balance, the brain doesn't have to work (or overwork) to keep over tense muscles on tension. Balance should be easy and effortless. A body off-balance will require some initial effort to strengthen the muscles that have been on holiday. Over time, as these weaker muscles become stronger - the long term goal is efficient, effortless ease of movement - Good balance & Great Posture.
How long has your body been off-center? Have noticed your posture gradually shifting? With age are you getting shorter, developing body posture tending to kyphosis/lordosis, or a functional scoliosis? Do you have neck pain, shoulder pain, back, hip, or knee pain? Current posture habits might be a contributing factor. There are so many things you can do to help make improvements. If you're alive and alert - there's lots you can do to stand & sit taller!
Practicing good posture reinforces the principles of better body alignment learned through the Pilates Method. Also, practicing pilates will strengthen and reinforce your good posture habits. But it doesn't just have to be Pilates to help improve posture - Yoga, and all other fitness activities give you a chance to stretch and strengthen the body to help correct posture issues.
Here are a few helpful hints for improving posture:
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- If you stand with locked knees (you might experience knee pain) - keep the knees slightly soft when standing. The hamstring muscles will work harder to help support the knee joint.
- If you sit with crossed legs - chances are it's usually the same leg. Sit with both feet flat on the floor, or if you have to cross, cross at the ankles.
- Learn to breath by expanding the ribcage and feeling your spine lengthen. Inhaling should make you taller! When you exhale - strive to stay tall. You'll notice your muscles working to support your improved posture.
- Strengthen your Pelvic Floor & Core Muscles (this will help relax the shoulders and provide you with better back and neck support.)
- Invision lifting the body tall like you're suspended by a string.
- Add exercises to your workout program to stretch your chest & shoulders & strengthen your upper & lower back.
It doesn't take a lot to make positive changes for improving posture. You can do it! Stay conscious, assess current posture habits and correct bad posture to enjoy better health.