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Posture Matters!

With our ever increasing time spent bent over electronic devices, the need for better/stronger posture couldn’t come sooner. Lucky for this post and some cool new products to make acquiring better posture  an immediate possibility. Let’s look at a three step approach to improving your posture:

1. Body Bolster & Foam Rolling:

These two “devices” are both inexpensive and make a different almost instantly.

The Body Bolster , a new product, was something I tried to lengthen and release tightness in my back and neck. Coupled with using the Body Bolster and stretches, I found the tightness in my back and neck alleviate immediately. Like anything related to posture strengthening or pain relief, you can’t expect from one use to be “cured”. I recommend using both Foam Rolling and the Body Bolster in conjunction with your current weight training/cardio program.    

My favourite position on the Body Bolster is pictured below (lower back release) and also just up around the base of the neck.  Simply lie with the Body Bolster in position and work on breathing or even meditate. The Body Bolster comes complete with a set of stretches/moves to work through the whole body. When used consistently, the Body Bolster influences muscles memory (this is awesome for flexibility and in turn strength) and helps improve postural habits. I noticed I was sitting taller, walking more upright and the best part was the ease of it all.

Foam rolling is popular (finally!) with my gyms now carrying a few rollers (of differing lengths/thickness) on the gym floor. I’ve got a nice detailed Foam Rolling post for you to read

2. Office/Desk Habits:

Most women have TERRIBLE posture habits at their desk and in their day-to-day movement patterns. Most common are slouching, carrying babies/toddlers/lazy big children, weird leg crosses or sitting on leg habits, high heels (literally the worst offender and the reason most physios/podiatrists will be in business until the end of time), excessive amounts of hours spent seated and when sleeping (some of you have the strangest sleep postures- if my clients are anything to go by!).

She’s either unsure about this chair or she’s trying to check out her butt to see if her squats are paying off. 

Let’s break bad habits, NOW! Improve your posture significantly by doing the following:

– Wear a wedge or heel no higher than a kitten heel (i.e no stilettos!).

– Refrain from wearing thongs on your commute to work (Ha! The footwear not underwear!). The clawing action the toes makes when wearing thongs is not ideal for your gait patterns. Do a Melanie Griffith’s in Working Girl and wear your runner’s instead. Daggy runner’s are a thing of the past! Hello Nike Free Runs (brights/neons/blacks/prints), so many to choose form. For those interested, ballet flats aren’t much better either- they are in face to flat to the ground. A smaller heel or cushioned sole is optimal.  

– Get up regularly from your desk. Try at worst, every 2 hours. Hourly is ideal. Just a short lap around the floor to stretch, move and get a little blood flow to those extremities. Save trees and talk to your colleagues (what a novel concept!) rather than email/fax/telephone.

– Incorporate some kind of yoga/stretching into your fitness routine. Classes are everywhere now and stretches costs NOTHING! Both yield great results. 2-3 times per week if sufficient enough to see results. Coupled with foam rolling/Body Bolster- you will be touching your toes in no time.

3. Exercise selection

If you spend most of your time seated at your desk, day in and day out, I would refrain from participating in exercises/movements that mimic those patterns (sitting or hunched over). Think about this for a minute:

What do these forms of exercise have in common?

Yes! All are a just a little bit “hunching”.They are strengthening/working predominantly the anterior (front) of the fitness babes body. I’m not saying stop doing these exercises all together, however be aware of using multiple planes of movement when you exercise. For example: Team your push ups with two back strengthening exercises: pull ups & single arm rows are a great start. If you do a lot of seated bike work (or spin classes) try some hill sprints utilising your core and glutes or even add rowing intervals to target the muscles in the back. Do you core work standing and have an element of balance included in the exercise. Freak your body right out and run backwards or move side to side (laterally). Depending on how poor the posture, I may remove working the chest all together for a period of time- it really depends on the individual.  
Hope this helps get you all on the straight and narrow….bad pun, I know!
x Nat
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