Postural Tips

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So many people are told to ‘sit up straight’ or to ‘pull their shoulders back’ as a means of improving posture. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best advice.

Our bodies are designed to move and respond positively to regular position changes. It is more helpful to change position more frequently rather than to maintain one posture for a sustained period of time. Our joints are ‘oiled and greased’ as we move them and our muscles remain more active. Fidgeting – although sometimes irritating to others! – can be an effective way of achieving this throughout the working day.

When it comes to spinal position (or ‘posture’), it is helpful if we consider a few areas simultaneously. If you are sitting, notice that your knees are positioned slightly before your hips/pelvis with your feet firmly on the floor. Next, familiarise yourself with the nobbly bones in your buttocks (we all have them so they’re in there somewhere!) and bear your weight through them. Follow your attention upwards to your chest bone (also known as the sternum) and lift it. Imagine you are shining a light on your chest bone out in front of you, rather than downwards. Resist ‘pulling your shoulders back’. This is not a normal position for our shoulder joints. We are naturally a little round shouldered so don’t worry about this! Finally, consider your head and neck position. Visualise that you are holding a small peach gently under your chin – not squashing it until it purees and not letting it go! Now you are maintaining a positive or ‘good’ posture but remember, you’ll need to move again shortly and yes, its ok to slouch sometimes!

When you’re standing, in addition to the advice above, share your weight equally between your feet. Imagine you are evenly squashing a marshmallow under your big toe, little toe and heel bone on each side. Bring your attention to your knees and gently soften them so they don’t feel to be ‘locked back’. Finally, rock your pelvis forwards and backwards (known as anterior and posterior tilting…and like John Travolta!) and maintain the mid position. Now you can return your attention upwards to your spine, as detailed above. Practice maintaining this position when you’re stood in the bus queue, at the supermarket or perhaps if you work in a standing position.

Oh my aching back!

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