Your posture versus performance

What does good posture means to you?

Is it straight back, head upright and shoulders back? You keep hearing this advice from so many places indicating that it is essential and we should pay more attention to it. Yes, I agree that it is vital to pay more attention to your way of holding yourself.

Do you want to know why?

Firstly, it is the best way of preventing any muscle strain and pain, supporting joint longevity and good quality of movements. Your muscle system spreads over your bones like the building scaffolding. The points of attachments, their location and forces influencing on each element have immense importance. If the parts work in balance, squared shape, this indicates that all effects involve in equilibrium are even in strength and flexibility. However, a lack of balance in alignment suggests otherwise. Those settings require more energy to maintain a position or perform an action; therefore, it makes it less efficient overall. Similar to the sail poorly position being unable to catch the wind to get momentum. The incorrect muscles positioning does not permit to achieve full power output, and it affects its function.

Does time matter?

In the short term, it is easily reversible by stretches and muscles activation technique to retrain the brain to restore a better starting point for muscles action. It is a habit, learned state that could be easily influenced by repetitions, self-awareness and corrections. If the situation progresses for a longer time, then more actions are required, and usually, it takes longer to create positive change. You can address anything literally with the full control over body movement and motivation with those traditional methods of stretching and exercises.

Self-help approach

Here are some useful pointers to re-learn better postural habit with the help of the mirror.

Look straight ahead, position your head in the centre, on top of your spine. Level your shoulder and realign with your hips to create parallel horizontally two lines. Additionally, place both feet directly under your hips if you are standing. While in sitting,  make sure that your hips, knees and feet create one line and feet are placed in hip-width apart. In those settings, your muscles will work and rest well as they have even forces spreading across, allowing them to keep them subtle and ready for action.  

More than one problem

Most of my clients need to change the posture when they already have affected the functioning of muscles system. The nervous system impacts their control system in results of a stroke, brain injury or other neurological conditions. The situation requires external support of the therapist to improve muscles flexibility, formulate active exercises that client could repeat between treatment and the new habit of self-awareness with posture is needed.

It is so crucial for some that only in fully upright standing position they can steps forward with minimal assistance. In the correct hold, the trunk muscles create the stable frame for legs muscles to gain sufficient activation and lift the weight of the limb over the floor. When they flexed over, the frame is too weak to create the anchor for the muscles to elevate the limb and they experience bigger load and reduced muscles power. Just picture familiar image of someone who shuffles their feet on the floor. They tends to have flexed neck and trunk forward, reduced leg lifting and movements in the ankles. Improving just trunk extension – upright back( muscles strength allowing and joints flexibility) gains for such person not only significant foot clearance over the floor but the task appears to be easier to perform.

Mental top-up

Beside the physical actions, the mental practice and envisaging correct posture has a positive effect on the body as the brain creates neurological communications via neurotransmitters to activate the muscles in the correct pattern. The scientific researches confirm that mental practice of exercises, tasks and stretches brings the same effect as physical performance. They change the biochemistry in the brains allowing the muscles to receive similar information. They commonly applied in sport and regular training to enhance individuals performance and prepare for positive outcomes.

Emotional game

Additionally, I discuss with my clients how their emotional state influence on them and their body posture.  For example, someone he feels confident does not tend to keep their head down and bend over. In contrast, they sit upright with head high, looking straight at you, and often they keep their arms broad. Here is just a brief indication of how your emotions can influence the way how you hold your body. Exploring your emotions and general mental wellness will be beneficial for your physical health as well.

Having read this article, you are aware that investing time now in an efficient posture is the shortest and simplest route to comfortable and functional movements.

If you wish to discuss your case individual, please do not hesitate to contact me or share your comments below.

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