Are You Standing Tall?

 

This article originally appeared in Nurture Your Happiness, where I collaborated with fellow nutritionist Dominique to provide our audience more awareness about various topics including fitness, nutrition, mind etc.

These days, everyone have some kind of postural deviation or imbalance. This is purely due to the majority of our time spent sitting, peering at screens and not getting enough stretching and posterior chain action in.

What is posterior chain?

Posterior chain consists mainly of our gluteus, hamstrings, calves and lower back. These 3 areas are key in stabilizing our gait when we walk forward, maintaining stability and balance, and are all also part of our CORE! It is extremely essential to strengthen these muscle groups in order to prevent injury, lower back strain etc. These muscles are all aligned in a chain and thus tightness or injury to a particular group can cause pain in other areas.

Deviations you should look out for in determining your posture alignment:

(i) Ankles- when you walk do your feet cave inward i.e. towards your big toes, resulting in knees turning inward?

(i) Ankles- when you walk do your feet cave inward i.e. towards your big toes, resulting in knees turning inward?

(ii) Hips – do they tilt? You might need someone to spot you whilst you hold a stick across your hips.

(ii) Hips – do they tilt? You might need someone to spot you whilst you hold a stick across your hips.

(iii) Pelvic tilt- Simply put, if you are sitting a lot, the front of your hips (hip flexors) will be tight and so will be your lower back. Your butt will be drawn back which results in an ‘overarch’ of the lower back.

(iii) Pelvic tilt- Simply put, if you are sitting a lot, the front of your hips (hip flexors) will be tight and so will be your lower back. Your butt will be drawn back which results in an ‘overarch’ of the lower back.

(iv) Shoulders – Rounded shoulders are particularly common. A simple way to check is to see if your palms face backwards instead of to your body when you stand with your hands by your side. Shoulders can also be unlevelled i.e. tightness in one shoulder as compared to the other.

(iv) Shoulders – Rounded shoulders are particularly common. A simple way to check is to see if your palms face backwards instead of to your body when you stand with your hands by your side. Shoulders can also be unlevelled i.e. tightness in one shoulder as compared to the other.

(v) Head position – Our earlobes should be aligned over the tops of our shoulder joint, what is most common now is the forward head.

(v) Head position – Our earlobes should be aligned over the tops of our shoulder joint, what is most common now is the forward head.

How to fix my posture?

There are several amazing exercises to fix posture even at your desk and elsewhere. I love this sample from lifehack as they exemplify a lot of drills that I use with my personal training clients at the gym. In particular, are no. 6 and no. 10, scapular pinches and pushups. Learning how to engage our scapula (shoulder blades) is essential to fix rounded shoulders and there is never a time where we have done enough rows to facilitate pulling movement.

Others I would advise greatly are chest stretches, thoracic rotations and extensions. Thoracic region is our upper and mid back area, the region where a lot of us are weak and do not receive adequate activation.

For exercises that require a mat, you can hug your knees to your chest to relieve pressure off of the lower back, or perform the hero pose. The hero pose is a great way to stretch out the quadriceps (front thighs) and is complementary to the child's pose, both of which feels really good for the lower back.

Strengthening the posterior chain requires immense amount of work and the best way to be safe and find out more is to work with a personal trainer. In addition, correcting posture takes time. Rows are fundamental to building up a stronger back and fixing our rounded shoulders, and so is stretching and certain myofascial releases.

Check out this infographic below that summarises everything I mentioned, and hopefully give you a broad overview of posture.

If you need face to face observations and posture corrections, let’s    meet each other in person   !

If you need face to face observations and posture corrections, let’s meet each other in person!