7 Tips for Better Posture in just one Minute a Day!
Your body craves balance, so it is important to know how to stand correctly. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Learning how to stand properly can be an exercise all by itself.
I am going to take you through a series of exercises to make you aware of your natural standing posture, starting from the bottom up. Ready?
1. Start with your feet.
I know this sounds strange, but I want you to bring your attention to the bottoms of your feet. I want you to notice the following:
Are you putting more weight on the insides or outsides of your feet?
Maybe your weight is on the inside of one foot and the outside of the other.
Here is what you need to do for a solid footing:
Imagine your entire foot being a solid root reaching down deep into the earth. It is equal across the bottoms of both feet - no turning in or out. Your toes are straight forward. Your weight is evenly spread out.
Often we tend to lean forward because the back of our body or “posterior chain” is weaker than the front of our body. Notice if you are doing this and, with awareness, begin to let your weight move just a little toward the back. If this feels off balance, bend your knees a little. It will help distribute your weight so that you feel more solid on your feet.
Feet are our foundation, our connection with stillness and forward movement. It is important to get it right.
2. Up to the Knees
Now that your feet are planted, place your attention on your knees. They should be slightly bent. This micro bend allows the muscles of the lower legS and thighS to support the knee joints. This reduces the pressure placed on your bones.
Your kneecaps should be over your middle toes, not pointing in or out.
You should feel a little bounce in your knees.
3. Move up to your Hips
Your hip joints should be lined up on top of your knees and ankles. Your weight is equally distributed. Do not lean more on one hip than the other or jut one hip out to the side when standing. This creates misalignments from top to bottom and should be avoided.
Just as with your knees, there should be the slightest bend or flexion at the hip joints. Do not lock the joints in place. They should feel a little springy.
4. Your Lower Back and Abdominals are next.
Your rear end should not be poking out far behind you. To prevent this, lightly pull your abdominals up and in toward your spine. This will help firm up your foundation.
There is a natural curve in your low back. This curve will be increased or decreased according to the strength and tension in your abdominal muscles.
It is a good idea to keep your abdominals strong to help keep your spine supported so that this curve can maintain proper positioning.
5. Your Chest and Shoulders.
Don’t allow your chest to cave in. Open up your chest by pulling your shoulders back and moving them toward each other. Now relax them down. Your shoulder joints should be directly above your hip joints and your ankles.
It is important to keep your back muscles strong to support this chest forward posture. Remember your knees, because they are slightly bent, they might be just a tiny fraction off this line, that’s fine.
6. Arms and Hands.
Take notice how your arms are hanging by your sides now that your chest is lifted and your shoulders are back and down. Your arms should hang so that your fingers are in line with your hips and knees. This test can show you where you need to strengthen and stretch. You can actually strengthen your body by just standing correctly.
7. Now for that Very Heavy Head!
Our neck has a lot of weight to carry. We can make its job easier if we pay attention to how our head is positioned.
Your neck has a slight curve in it, which corresponds to the slight curve in your low back. Your ears should be lined up with your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. Your chin and jaw line are level. You are looking straight ahead not up or down.
If the muscles in front of your neck are tight when looking up, you probably have a tendency to hold your head forward. Stretch these muscles out every day and this will help to keep your head balanced on your neck.
It is common for people to stand and walk with a head forward and down position. There are a thousand reasons why we do this, but that is a topic for another time.
The vertebra in our neck are particularly vulnerable to damage due to poor posture. To prevent neck pain, a rock solid foundation as I am describing needs to be in place. Often pain is caused in the neck and head due to the body being out of balance.
Here is my Challenge to YOU!!
Now that you have the 7 Tips to Improve Posture, I challenge you to stand this way for one minute every day, for one week. Take note of what your body wants to do. For example, do you lean on one hip, or drop your head? If so, then gently bring it back to this neutral standing posture. You know what they say, “A problem can’t be fixed if you don’t know it exists.” Learn what you are doing wrong so you can make a change.
Standing this way for one minute might be more challenging than you think!
Whenever I do one of my Eyes-Free Fitness Workouts, I start by adjusting my posture to the optimum “natural body position.” It helps my breath, my balance, and I have a more satisfying workout experience. Please visit www.BlindAlive.com and listen to samples of my audio described workouts.
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