Ever since you were young you’ve been told to correct your posture… and guess what?
It’s not going to stop now.
The reason your parents, your teachers and now your trainers go on and on about good posture is that it is essential for good health.
For one thing, having good posture can actually trick your brain into feeling more confident. Standing up straight literally makes you more motivated and improves your attitude.
Having good posture means you are using your body the way it was designed to be used. This puts less strain on your spine, your ligaments and your joints, optimising all your movements for better efficiency and performance.
Good posture also opens up your lungs for better breathing so you can optimise your Martial Arts training.
If you’re a sloucher, now’s the time to make a change. These tips and movements can help:
First, have a practice. Stand up straight with your feet hip width apart and take a look in a mirror side on. Correct your stance by:
- Rolling your shoulders back and down
- Levelling your hips to reduce any arch in your back
- Drawing your belly button inwards and up to tighten your core
Make sure your head is centred, with your earlobes in line with your shoulders. Drop your ribs towards your hips (not too much) to prevent your upper back from arching.
Your posture should be symmetrical and balanced. A quick way to get it right is to imagine a helium balloon attached to the very top of your head, gently pulling you upwards.
Exercises for better posture
Good posture is key to Martial Arts & Fitness as it means you can perform every move with less risk of injury. The following moves will help boost your stance:
Yep, your core has a lot to do with your posture. Keep it strong and you will find it easier to stand up straight.
LUNGES / AIR SQUATS
Lunges and air squats will help you practice moving while keeping your back straight and core strong.
HIP FLEXOR STRETCHES
The ‘couch stretch’ can be difficult to get the hang of at first, but this is a good move to help relieve the hip tightness that can lead to poor posture.
To do this move, get into a lunge position near a couch or wall. Slide your shin up the vertical surface to increase the flexibility in your hip flexor. Hold for thirty seconds to a minute, then move your knee closer to the wall as your flexibility increases.
If you do yoga you will have experienced this move, which releases the tension in your glutes. For this stretch, you need to be face down towards the ground, with one shin as parallel to the wall or to the front of your mat as possible. Ease forwards as much as you can and hold for a minute.
Note: this move can be tricky or painful at first if you are very tight but it does get easier!
Encourage your shoulders and hips to widen with this move. Lie on your stomach and put one arm out to one side on the floor. Lift the opposite leg and put your foot on the floor behind you.
You might feel like you just lost at a game of Twister but this will really open you up. Hold for up to a minute on both sides.