Michelle Koton from MPower Pilates gives her top tips on improving your posture with some simple pilates based movements.
Start at your feet and and work your way up
Try to stand with your weight evenly distributed between the front and the back of the foot. Imagine the inner and outer side of each foot act like those small guiding rails we use for our kids at the bowling alley and try to prevent yourself from leaning right or left of the mid line of your foot.
This correct positioning and foot balance will help to allow the force of your weight to be transmitted efficiently from the ground, up through the ankle joint and up via the pelvis to the spine.
Your 3 dimensional posture check
Remember that posture is not just how think we look from the front on. Our spine is supported top and bottom, but is surrounded with skeleton and muscle. Think of a cylinder or a set of containers stacked on top of each other! Try to ensure that your pelvis and your rib cage are stacked on top of each other, with the head on top of the ribs. All too often, we will stand wither with our rib cage hanging in front or behind the hips. Because our bodies will adjust and try to stay upright, a lack of 3 dimensional alignment results in all sorts of dysfunctional postural allowances.
An easy plumbline check
Stand side on in the mirror. Try to check that your ear is directly over your shoulder, which is directly over your hip, which is over the outside of the knee joint and then the ankle joint.
The power of your back line
Sometimes, when we are in pain and visit a medical professional, we are told to “strengthen your glutes”. Well, this is true, BUT…. everything is connected! Your glutes are connected to the back of the legs and to the muscles that run all the way up the back side of the body. Try use the ENTIRE back body as your “frame” and then work to add strength throughout the line.
Please don’t think that by clenching your butt…. Everything will be fine!
Hanging your head/neck forward adds up to 5X the load on your spine!
Try your hardest not to spend hours on your phone or computer with your head hanging from the spine. The vertebrae on the top most part of the spine are the most delicate and yet, we are often put 5x the demand on them than anywhere else. If you are wondering why your shoulders are seizing up and your neck is always tired, put your head up where it belongs - on TOP of the spine.