How mindful are you of your daily body position or ‘posture’?
With the start of a new year and many patients returning back to work, our Dee Why Physio clinic has seen an increase in postural related injuries. Many of my patients are reporting a noticeable decline in their body since returning to their office jobs, particularly in their neck, shoulders, hip and lower back.
Discussing with patients about their work habits, it is apparent that sustained and repetitive movements appear to be the main contributing factor, with many admitting they are unaware of their body position or ‘posture’ throughout the day.
Posture is merely how you hold or carry yourself. The distribution of weight you place in your body throughout the day and the sustained positions that you hold. The term ‘poor posture’ and ‘good posture’ can be very interchangeable as some people have more natural movement in their joints and others have less. It also can depend on body type, height, genetics etc … so how can we auto correct and readjust back to our normal?
When I’m assessing my patients, the first thing I have them do is simply stand. Seeing the way someone naturally holds their body can give great insight into the areas that are carrying higher loads and uneven distribution of forces. I find patients often have one shoulder higher than the other, a forward carry of the head, tilting of the pelvis, uneven shifting of weight to one side etc... Often I have my patients stand and look at how they carry themselves in the mirror. More often or not, by being made aware or being mindful of your posture, you are able to self- correct and naturally redistribute the loads evenly.
Try this at home!
A tool we use for posture in our Pilates based clinical exercises classes is mindful standing. Try this out for yourself- simply stand still on a mat for 1-2 minutes and run through your body from top to toe. Starting with your feet and feeling even weight through the right and left but also through the 3 points of the foot (heel, big toe and little toe). Then moving up the chain to the knees. Making sure you are soft through your knees, not locked out. Continuing higher up to the hips and lower back, placing your hands on your hips and moving into a neutral position so your hands are level and belly button is facing forwards. Further up again to the shoulders, gently roll them down and back and feel an opening through the front of your chest, finally imagine a balloon on the top of your head gently lifting you tall and tucking your chin to rest on top of the your neck.
This exercise is great to perform at the start and end of the day to check in with your body and assess any areas that you have overloaded or held out of your natural posture through the day. The first step to improving your posture is to be mindful about how you are holding yourself.
If you are interesting in finding out more ways to improve your posture our Physiotherapy clinic in Dee why runs targeted Physio exercise classes. Theses classes are a great way to learn more about how your body moves and naturally loads itself, as well as strengthening your core in order to hold you in these postural positions for longer throughout the day.
If you are interested, please don’t hesitate to contact our clinic on (02) 9972 3304 or via email email@example.com
By Inspire Physiotherapy and Pilates Dee Why