Straighten Up and Fly Right

“Some doctors believe that slouching can shorten life by several years [especially] if accompanied by a terminal illness.”

As many physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths will attest, posture ain’t what it used to be.

And, as we slump at computer screens around the country, it isn’t too hard to see why.

So if you are uncertain of what your exercise goal for your clients should be, improving posture could be worth thinking about.

Yeah but why bother with posture when you could be working on much sexier things like abs and biceps? No reason really apart from:

  • Good posture makes us look more confident and therefore feel more confident.
  • Breathing is easier when our lungs aren’t scrunched up in a frame something akin to The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.
  • Experts reckon standing up straight takes three to five pounds and several years off. An optical illusion of course but who cares.
  • Digestion and circulation improves and the joints stay in their correct alignment.
  • And the spine maintains its intended shape - which bypasses all kinds of minor problems like headaches, neck pain, sciatica and excruciating back pain.

Actually in fairness to the abs and biceps brigade, you don’t have to spend the whole session on posture related stuff. Just include it as an added bonus at the end of the session.

So how do you illustrate ideal posture?

Ask your client to stand with their back against the wall - heels about 6 inches away. Their head, shoulder blades and behind should touch the wall.

Slip your hand behind their lower back. If there's more than a hand's thickness ask them to tighten their stomach to flatten the curve. If there's too little space ask them to arch their back so that your hand fits. That’s the perfect position.

Probably the simplest exercise of all to help with poor posture is the shoulder blade squeeze. Just get your clients to straighten their shoulders and then squeeze their shoulder blades together.

If it feels really good, it usually means they haven’t been sitting or standing particularly well.

Good posture isn't a 15-minute exercise, it's 24/7 mindfulness about how you hold your body, so encourage your clients to practice between sessions and you’ll have them looking like Scots Guards in no time.

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