THE BEST fashion accessory that you can have is your posture. Everybody strives to find clothing that suits them, that ideal dress or that perfect outfit but too many people forget the two things that can make or break an outfit – confidence and POSTURE.
If you have the perfect posture, people won’t care what you’re wearing, you could wear nothing and still look fabulous. So what are you waiting for…. try my top tips and look stunning.’
As you walk in to work look at your colleagues – see how many walk with a tired upper body stoop. All reeks of fatigue, depression and lack of self-confidence – promotion prospects out of the window. But that person, standing upright, gazing ahead with a measured pace immediately catches the green eye. Posture is also important at your desk.
Too many spend all day on a computer, set at the wrong height and knees at or above hip level – shortening the hamstrings, hunching the shoulder and continuing the “Concorde” droop snoop neck posture. Then after 20 minutes of sitting the lumbar slouch takes hold, the tummy bulges, our clothes distort and our backs degenerate.
So here are some tips and tricks:
You really need to regain control and strength of the abdominal muscles, diaphragm and pelvic floor and the deep muscles in the back of the back so the pelvis rotation can be restored to normal. The hamstrings need to be stretched and the gait needs to be narrowed. The posture of the whole spine needs to be addressed starting with the neck and working downwards.
Imagine you have an orange between your shoulder blades – squeeze it.
· Now your shoulder are back but likely your shoulder muscles (Trapezii) are too tight. So sweep your arms forwards and raise them above your head. Keep the palms forwards and sweep your arms outwards palms downwards – still squeezing the orange. Now your trapezii are released.
· Now pull your chin back horizontally and grow tall. You may feel like a stuffed penguin but look how your posture has already improved and even the Dowager’s hump has improved.
Now warm up stretch your hamstrings preferably in flat footwear. You can do this by while standing. Simply bend forward at the waist with arms hanging down and with legs relatively straight. Try to touch the toes but do not strain to do so. Stop when a stretch is felt in the hamstring. Hold the stretch for several seconds, then stand smoothly, relax and repeat. Do not bounce!
You can stretch both hamstrings at once at you desk. Move your buttocks to the edge of the chair. Stretch your legs out straight and place your heels on the floor. Place your hands on top of your thighs or behind your knees, and lean your torso forward to stretch your hamstrings. Hold the stretch for several seconds, then relax and repeat. Mind you do not skid across the room!
Now you are ready to do your lumbar spinal drills to recruit the abdominal and deep spinal muscles by squeezing the “bum” and tucking the “tum” in and holding these muscles for 20 seconds 10 times a session 4 times a day.
Try to get supervised Muscle Balance Physiotherapy by a Chartered physiotherapist because everybody’s back and posture is different. Some need specific sections of the spine to be freed up because they are overworking adjacent segments. These become weakened and hinge and need to be dynamically stabilized.
Try to use high heels only on special occasions because whilst they may look attractive they move your centre of gravity forwards, over arch your lower back, enhance the tendency to hunch and so over arch the neck.
For more information: www.spinal-foundation.org
Dr Martin Knight is the Director of the Spinal Foundation. Follow him on Twitter @DrMartinKnight