WellBalanced Clinical Lead, Emma Rollings, provides some useful advice for improving your posture.
Emma says “Better posture goes hand in hand with better balance. I don’t think I have ever taught a balance class without talking about posture. Poor posture leads to weaker postural muscles, this reduces our balance as the muscles have to work much harder to maintain balance. Becoming more aware of your posture is the first step to improving it.
It may feel weird and difficult at first, but practice little and often and it will slowly become easier and more automatic.”
Try these small steps, in standing or sitting to increase awareness and improve your posture
- Stand with feet hip width apart. If sitting feet should be flat on the floor.
- Even weight distribution, between each foot and between the front and back of your feet. If seated, think about your sitting bones being evenly weighted.
- Stand with soft knees – make sure they are not locked back. If sitting have 90° angles at your knee and hip
- Activate your tummy muscles – imagine you are wearing a low-slung belt and you are just doing it up an extra couple of notches.
- Think about the natural curve in your lower back but don’t stick your bottom out
- Shoulders back and relaxed – imagine your collar bones widening and your shoulder blades sliding down towards your waistband
- Look ahead with your chin parallel to the floor – imaging you are holding a peach under your chin that you don’t want to squash or drop
- Think about length through the back of your neck and imagine your head is a helium balloon floating up towards the ceiling
We don’t go about life just standing still though, we move and adopt many different positions to carry out daily activities. If you think about these postural elements and bring an awareness to your posture during these activities you are likely to find you can do them with more ease, comfort and confidence.
There are many exercises that will help train and strengthen your postural muscles. A physiotherapist could advise you or you could take part in a Strength and Balance class, lead by a postural stability instructor, Pilates, Tai Chi or Yoga. You may also like to try Emma’s posture video;