Posture ranks right up at the top of the list when you are talking about good health. Our challenge for this week is to practice perfect posture for at least 10 minutes a day. You can practice perfect sitting posture for half the time and perfect standing for half the time! And for every day you remember to practice for 10 minutes you earn the 5 Weekly Challenge points. You will think this is an easy challenge- heck you can do it while grocery shopping. But I have tried to keep perfect posture for an entire grocery shopping trip and it is HARD!
Posture is as important as eating right, exercising, getting a good night's sleep and avoiding potentially harmful substances like alcohol, drugs and tobacco. Good posture means your bones are properly aligned and your muscles, joints and ligaments can work as nature intended. Not only that you can look pounds thinner just by improving your posture! (practice in front of the mirror and you will see that this is true!)
Good posture means your vital organs are in the right position and can function at peak efficiency. Posture also helps contribute to the normal functioning of the nervous system. Without good posture, you can't really be physically fit.
Surprised? Well, you're not alone. The importance of good posture in an overall fitness program is often overlooked by fitness advisers and fitness seekers alike. In fact, the benefits of good posture may be among the best kept secrets of the current fitness movement. The good news is that most everyone can avoid the problems caused by bad posture...and you can make improvements at any age.
Better Posture Made Simple
Follow these simple steps to quickly improve your posture.
1) Bring your feet parallel, not turned out, and about hip width apart. Bringing your feet parallel engages the muscles in the front of your thighs and keeps your hips, knees and ankles in proper alignment.
2) Reach up through the top of your head, feeling your spine lengthen, getting tall.
3) Bring your pelvis to a neutral position. To find this neutral position, place your hands around your hips, then tuck your tailbone slightly until your pelvis is directly over your thighs, so there is no bend in your hip joints, and there's less sway in your low back. As you tuck your tailbone, you should feel your abdominal muscles engage a bit.
4) Draw your shoulders back and relax them down, bringing your hands in line with the seams of your pants.
5) Level your chin, keeping your head directly over the spot between your shoulders, not forward or back.
Here are some easy ways to check your posture at home:
Stand facing a full length mirror and check the following:
1) Your shoulders are level
2) Your head is straight, not tilted to the side
3) The spaces between your arms and your sides seem equal on both sides
4) Your hips are level, not sloped to one side
5) Your ankles are straight and not turned in or out.
You can also have someone look at you from the side and check the following:
1) Your head is stacked over your body, not jutting forward or pulled back
2) Your chin is parallel to the floor, not tilting up or down
3) Shoulders are in line with ears, not drooping forward or pulled back too far
4) Your hands are in line with hips, not forward or back
5) Your knees are straight, not bent or hyper-extended
6) Your lower back is slightly curved forward, not too flat or curved too much, (creating a swayback)
To earn 5 Challenge points a day practice these points of posture for at least 10 minutes everyday. (Note: Yoga, Pilates and other core strengthening exercises can help you to improve your posture)