The spine is one of the most important parts of the body because it is the main structure of support, holding everything together in place. A healthy and well-aligned spine will allow the body to move functionally and safely.
Poor posture is a result of the spine being out of alignment. Many of us have less than ideal posture because of daily habits such as sitting, using smartphones or computers, and being generally out of tune with our bodies. Over time, we become accustomed to moving with poor posture, causing improper alignment of the spine, which can lead to an array of preventable issues.
Today we will explore some of the many benefits to improving posture and creating more alignment in the body. Read until the end to learn some simple movements that you can start today to improve your overall health and wellness.
6 Benefits Of Having Good Posture:
The most obvious reason to sit up straight- it looks better than slouching. You will stand taller and more confidently. Clothes will also tend to fit better and even more comfortably with good posture.
2. Correcting kyphosis
More commonly referred to as a "hunchback", kyphosis is the condition in which the upper back is rounded unnaturally and exaggeratedly forward. This is most common in older adults, but for many the beginning stages of this condition start in early adulthood. Poor posture in childhood plays a huge factor in the development of this condition, and corrective exercises can help to prevent and improve it.
3. Improved breathing
If you find that you experience frequent shortness of breath, incorrect posture could be a leading factor. Slouching over can cause the rib cages to become compressed, therefore not allowing sufficient air to enter the lungs. This then leads to less oxygen in the body overall. Opening up the shoulders and chest will take that pressure off of the ribs and lungs, allowing for easier breathing.
4. Injury prevention
When we constantly move with improper alignment, our muscles and different tissues will be used improperly, and we may overcompensate for it in other areas. This can eventually lead to an abnormal wear and tear of tissues and joints, making the body susceptible to injury even during basic, everyday movements like walking, bending over, or getting up from a laying position.
Hunching over will affect the amount of space the digestive system has to do its work. When we sit up we allow the stomach and intestines to be less compressed and more relaxed, which will improve the efficiency of the digestive process. If you experience issues like bloating, gas, or constipation, try improving your posture for easier digestion.
6. Reduce back pain
Many people suffer from chronic back pain, which in many cases stems from misalignment and dysfunction of the spine and muscles of the back, shoulders, neck, and hips. As stated previously, this improper alignment will lead to overcompensation in other areas of the body. Over time of using different body parts improperly, pain will inevitably arise. Coming back into alignment will ease the tension put on these overused tissues.
Now that you know just how important it is to have good posture, here are some simple corrective movements you can start practicing today to help set yourself up for success!
Releasing tension in the tissues, increasing cellular hydration, and increasing range of motion are all super beneficial to bringing physical balance and alignment to the body! Myofascial release does all of these and more. If you find that standing straight with shoulders back and hips properly flexed feels very tiring, you may want to start with myofascial release to help loosen up your tissues.
When done correctly, holding a plank for anywhere from 20-40 seconds will engage the entire body, especially the core. The core is not just the abdominal muscles, but the back and side body as well. Strengthening all of these together will help you to be able to hold yourself upright with more ease.
During this exercise, the back lies flat on the ground as the arms and legs fully extend. This movement forces the shoulders, back, and hips into perfect alignment, and strengthens the core.
This stretch is great for maintaining the health of the spine because it helps to increase range of motion and flexibility. It involves flexion and extension of the spine and everything from the neck down to the hips and tailbone. Cat/cow will alleviate tension, decrease back pain, and relieve stress.
Band Assisted Leg Lowers
For this exercise, a band will be used to assist in holding one leg in place while slowly lowering the other. Its done from a supine laying position, which makes it similar to the dead bugs in that it keeps the back in a straight position. This movement not only improves back posture but also increases mobility in the hips, which is also essential to achieving healthy posture.
Our coaches here at EpitomeFit are trained to recognize the imbalances which commonly affect the body, and how to exercise in a way to help bring the body back to where it needs to be to in order to feel at its best. Feel free to reach out to us to learn more about how we can help you to reach your personal version of the epitome of fitness!