There are so many benefits of good posture, least not gaining extra height.
My practice focusses on the entire body being responsible for movement and therefore responsible for development of musculoskeletal aches and pains. If you come and see me about a pain in you foot I will always ask you lots of seemingly nosey questions about your knees, hips, lower back and neck. In my clinic I use an IPad app to provide a simple posture analysis.
The purpose of us being able to walk, run and jump is to get from point A to point B, whether your individual journey takes you up a mountain or from the lounge to the kitchen. And as humans we have a super important brain at the top of our body controlling everything we do. The human body works but it is a marvel of engineering. Most of the time we can compensate for small instabilities by recruiting another joint or muscle to take the load, but when these small instabilities accumulate injury and pain develop.
Our body is also good at prioritising. The head, brain and spinal cord are at the top of the list with the poor little feet and toes at the bottom. This usually results in postural instabilities developing that place excessive load at the feet.
Unfortunately by the time most people become symptomatic there is a lot of poor posture to be corrected, but its never too late to start.
This basic balance exercise is safe, easy and effective.
Take off your socks and shoes and feel the earth. If you are elderly or have significant balance issues please hold onto something for support. Junior helpers are optional.
- Start by securing your feet or ‘base of support’. Place the feet hips width apart and feel that your weight is evenly distributed along the entire sole of your foot that is contacting the ground.
don’t forget to Breathe
- Have a slight bend in your knees and ensure that your hips are parallel. It can help to stand in front of a mirror and put your hands on your hips to see that this is true for you. Take a moment to check back in with your feet to make sure weight is still even and they are still parallel (not turned in or out).
- Moving to the shoulders pull your shoulder blades back so you are standing tall and now shoulders and hips are stacked above the feet. Imagine you are standing against a wall, you would feel the heels, hips and shoulders all touching the wall. You might like to start off like this for a few days before you feel comfortable supporting yourself. Like any exercise correct technique is the most important part.
- Finally tuck the chin to bring the ears in line with the shoulders while also creating a light lift in the spine, as if there is a rope attached to the centre of your head holding you upright.
- Stand like this in good posture for 30seconds, taking even deep breathes (2-3 seconds inhale/exhale)and take note of areas of the body that want to tilt or bend. These are often the areas of weakness or injury that the rest of your body are supporting. I find it easier to tune into my body with my eyes closed but if your balance isn’t good enough for this yet focus on a stationary point in front of you.
Repeat this exercise at least twice a day until you feel it is getting easier. You can then progress to standing on one leg. Further progressions include lifting the arms above the head, standing on an uneven surface and closing your eyes.
Over time you’re joints and brain will identify what good balance feels like and old, bad habits will be forgotten. This process can be enhanced by exercises of weak or inactive muscle groups, especially abdominal or ‘core’ areas.
Enjoy this exercise and I look forward to getting a you tube clip up soon to compliment the text and pictures.
Disclaimer – this information is general in nature, you should always discuss any new exercise with your health professional. In the case of these exercises a qualified exercise professional can help align you and give you specific postures for individual body types and injuries.
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