How to Improve Posture | Although I often talk about posture, I talk less about the aspect of good posture, which is balance. Without good balance it is very difficult, if not impossible to maintain a good posture.
Without thinking about it we balance all the time when going about our daily lives. Walking to the local shops with heavy shopping bags, holding a pulling dog in one hand and maybe a reluctant toddler in the other, all mean that our bodies are constantly balancing themselves.
Without good balance it is very difficult, if not impossible to maintain a good posture. And just how often do I talk about posture?
Much like other aspects of our health we often don’t consider how we balance until things start to go wrong when we fall and suffer injury. This is most concerning in the more elderly population where complications such as osteoporosis mean that a fall can lead to a fracture and maybe more serious problems, but for all of us good balance comes from a strong core and if we are well balanced then we can maintain good posture even when on uneven footings.
A good way to check your balance is to stand up straight, feet hip width apart, raise one knee up and count how many seconds you can stand on one leg without wobbling too much.
If it is less than 10 seconds you probably need to do some work on your balance, if you can do it then try the same exercise with your eyes closed. If you can manage that for 10 seconds you are doing fine, less than 5 seconds then you still need a bit of a tune up. If you find that you are much better on one side than the other than you may have some alignment problems and it would be a good idea to talk to your osteopath.
For anyone who is a bit wobbly on this test there are a few things you can do.
Firstly, practice single leg stands daily. It helps if you stand in a doorway or a corner rather than the middle of the room as having a solid edge near you gives your eyes something to focus on and helps the balance. When you can consistently stand for 20 seconds on each leg then start practicing with your eyes shut. Within a few weeks of daily practice you will notice an improvement.
Another way to work on balance is to do whatever exercises you normally do but try them with your feet close together rather than hip width apart, or if you are feeling really confident, try them on one leg. Exercises such as biceps curls, squats and even just stretching upwards can all be used to help with balance. As your balance improves, so will your posture and you should find that neck and back pain improve too.
Go on, give it a try!
If you would like your posture assessed then please book a new patient appointment with one of our osteopaths by clicking here.