Perfecting Posture

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You have a busy life, which doesn’t necessarily promote good posture. We start by spending lots of time in the car, to lots of time sitting at our desks and then back home via the car (and gym of course). Whilst during the day we may think we are holding ourselves in a great postural position, this is simply not the case. Sitting for long periods in the day is not exactly how our bodies were designed to be for optimal mechanics and health!

Postural weakness and lack of postural awareness is really common. I see it a lot in the workplace, in our gym and community. I certainly don’t want to be a hunched over lady early in life, so I’m working hard on maintaining good posture. As bettering you best is what we are about, I want you to give your posture an audit and look into how you can make some positive changes.

Issues linked to bad posture:

Injuries and tightness

Bad posture leads to placing more stress on joints than they are designed to hold. Whilst our body’s ability to cope with load distribution is remarkable, over time strain and stress do wear down structures.

Reduced ability to take deep breaths

With an increased thoracic spine curvature you are less likely to be able to expand your lungs and take a large inspiration to increase your lung volumes. Not ideal when you are running on our treadmills.

Standing tall has direct links to increased testosterone production 

This for me was hugely important in competition no matter what the result knowing that I have to ‘walk the talk’ it actually helps you feel dominant for success in the gym and boardroom.

Are you hunched over all day at your desk typing gradually sinking lower into your chair? Here are some simple tips to get you going:

Imagine that your spine is a series of Lego blocks stacked on top of each other. With a long neck try and visualise space between the blocks and in doing so grow taller through the crown of your head.

Have an open chest rather than rounded shoulders and a hunched thoracic spine. See width across your should but don’t force this by extending your spine and bending backwards.

Tuck your tailbone under and in doing so you will help activate your deep abdominal muscles, which will help you maintain this posture.

Avoid standing on one leg or perched on one hip (particularly you ladies). Be grounded in good posture rather than fragile on one side adding further stress to your joints.

Check your workstation out at work. Consider standing desk options and try hard not to sit for prolonged periods of time. With time our postural muscles fatigue and we fall back into our default positions that you’re working hard to eliminate. Take regular trips to the water cooler to keep moving.

Counter movement exercises are also important. Particularly important for those of you who love the bench but don’t do any pull type exercise. By over working a muscle group such as your pectorals you are creating shortened muscles. Be disciplined to do those exercises you don’t necessarily want to do.

Good posture can make a significant difference to your gym life and life in general. Being able to activate the right muscles groups will help your performance on the way to your goals. Ask for help and if you’re being asked be honest. Use the mirrors at the gym as a visual reminder because they will not lie to you. Most importantly, remember to walk tall and be strong in the knowledge
you are using your body in the way it should be utilised.

About Sarah

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Sarah Cowley Ross has recently retired from the sport of athletics where she excelled at heptathlon, attending the 2012 Olympic Games and 2006 Commonwealth Games and more recently the high jump at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Sarah has been a long supported of AUT Millennium, having made the facility her training home, and was a Scholarship Athlete for many years.

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