Friday, 1 November 2013

Sick of saying 'Stop Slouching'?

Are you worried about your teenagers poor posture?  Tired of constantly nagging them to stand up straight?
Posture is the way we sit, stand and move.  When we have good posture the body is well balanced and we can move without placing the body under unnecessary strain. Those with good posture look taller, slimmer and more fluid in their movement. Good posture gives a person presence, allows them to command a room and helps them grow their height. 

Those with poor posture not only look bad but they can also cause long-term damage to their bodies. When they slouch their shoulders forward the muscles in the upper back and neck strain, overstretch and overwork.  When the shoulders slump the chest muscles shorten and the small muscles between the shoulder blades weaken, and the back muscles stretch and strengthen.  Over time the functioning of their spine and arms are affected, breathing can become difficult and internal organs may be affected as they are pushed out of place resulting in problems with digestion.  In severe cases postural repetitive stress injury can in the long term contribute to osteopenia, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis in the joints and bones. 

Your teenagers’ slouching has probably developed through habit, rapid growth, social pressures, poorly balanced muscle tone and perhaps even a dash of rebellion on their part.  The problem is that the body can adapt to this slouching, poor posture feels normal and continues to regress further from correct posture so when teenagers try to stand up straight it can be uncomfortable for them and they cannot maintain the position for long.

Good posture comes from a strong core, your abdominal muscles that wrap around the centre of the body like a corset between your ribs and pelvis.  These muscles stabilise the torso hence the best way to improve posture is to focus on a strong core.

Purely PILATES Studio Director Karen’s son Piers suffers from poor posture and has started doing 1:1 sessions to improve his core strength.  During these sessions he has practiced numerous exercises to strengthen his core and is now finding standing up straight an easier task.  His top five exercises are:

Spinal Rotation - focusing on rotating the spine and opening up the chest.
Hip Roll - focusing on mobilising the spine and opening up the hips.
Breastroke Preps - strengthening the erector spinae and helping to lengthen the upper back.
Half Rollback - strengthening the abdominals and lengthening tightness in the lumber area.
Shoulder Bridge - strengthening hamstrings and glutes, obliques and abdominals to create a base for the body.

If you are sick of saying stop slouching and think your teenager would benefit from Pilates please contact us and we can discuss how to address the issue.