Your goal for the year might be to lose weight, get in shape or tone up. Each one of these goals requires some form of weight bearing exercise to accomplish. You need strength no matter how great or small to perform weight bearing exercise and your strength begins with posture.
A properly aligned framework creates a strong foundation. Look at your friends and relatives as they stand around you. Do they stoop or crane their neck forward? Do they still have a spring in their step?
We mostly notice this in humans as they age. Age is not to blame. Most poor posture begins with inactivity, an injury and poor posture.
Injuries create a weak link in your framework. You lose elasticity and the amount of weight that portion of the body can bear.
Poor posture creates undue stress upon your structural framework and compromises your strength. Look around at people on their smartphones. The head is usually tilted forward with the eyes looking down.
According to the Washington Post, the human head weighs about a dozen pounds. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds.
That's a lot of weight to support with your spine. This kind of stress leads to pain and problems in the shoulders, neck and back by lengthening some muscles and shortening others to create an unbalanced posture.
The stresses of poor posture upon the body over time leads to a poorly stacked foundation and pain. Practicing correct posture is the start of a strong foundation.
Try these tips from Michael Gleiber, MD to improve your smartphone posture:
1. Hold the phone at eye level
2. Move your eyes and not your whole head. If you can't hold your phone up, look down with your eyes.
3.Stretch your neck. Left to right and front to back, gently.
4.Squeeze your shoulder blades together to improve posture.
A stiff body is a body in poor posture. Identifying and targeting tight areas can free your body for good posture and your strength begins with posture.
Tight hamstrings can lead to poor gait and a poor gait can put undue pressure and strain on different parts of the body.
Find a tall mirror and walk towards it. Is your gait even? Look at the soles of your shoes. Are they wearing evenly?
These can be signs of poor flexibility. Enlisting the help of a personal trainer can help you identify any problem areas you might have and how to correct them. Like proper posture, stretching using proper technique is essential for a well-aligned body.
The human body is made up of 640 muscles both large and small. We all know the big players, the biceps, triceps, hamstrings, glutes and quadricipeps.
In addition to all the large muscles there are hundreds of smaller muscles and their connective tissues. These are the most important yet often overlooked pieces in our structural framework.
The smaller muscles and connective tissues are what create our strong inner-core. Strong biceps and hamstrings do little to support your spine or promote proper posture.
Fluid and smooth movements of our bodies are created through our smaller muscles and connective tissues. If properly developed with larger muscles you can reverse the effects of aging and prevent injury during everyday activities like yard work and house work.
When your musculo-skeletal framework is in proper alignment you can regain that spring in your step you thought you had lost due to aging.
Weight-bearing exercise is essential for a healthy body. When performed properly, it creates a body that is fluid and elastic.
Exercise begins with proper technique and the best technique begins with proper posture. There is no need to lift herculean amounts of weight to be strong.
When the whole of the body is working together, it is much stronger than a body that focuses on the big muscle exercises and ignores the smaller muscles and connective tissue exercises.
The best routines are done with free weights and dumbbells are ideal. Machines lock you into position and only focus on a small number of muscles.
Free-weights ensure you balance the weights with proper grip, stance and posture. Effective movements include twisting and rotating to ensure all the small muscles and connective tissues are being worked as well.
If you are unsure if you have good posture or form, consider hiring a personal trainer. They will provide you with a workout plan that is right for you and ensure you are practicing good form while exercising. A good personal trainer knows that strength begins with posture.
Look to the horizon. Whether walking, running or sitting, make sure your are always looking to the horizon.
When working at a desk, make sure your feet are flat on the ground and thighs parallel with the ground.
If you work at a computer, ensure the computer is at eye level. This will eliminate strain upon the neck, shoulders and back.
When out walking or running, keep your eyes on the horizon. Don't watch your shoes hitting the pavement. Keep that chin up!
Look at your profile in the mirror. Is your ear in alignment with your shoulder, hips and instep? Try to focus on keeping your shoulders back while keeping the chin up but not out.
Practicing good posture leads to the habit of good posture. Your total body strength begins with posture.
The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this website. Never rely on information on this website in place of seeking professional medical advice.