Posture – are you sitting hunch-ed-ley?

The mere mention of the word ‘posture’ makes you stand to attention. Yet, it’s so easy to find yourself hunched over a desk or behind the steering wheel.

21st Century problem

I believe that the way we live in the 21st Century is adding to the number of people with bad posture. Young people in particular; are developing phone-neck syndrome. Throughout lockdown the use of make-shift desks and working from the kitchen table has translated into me seeing a lot of clients with issues relating to poor posture.

The effect of bad posture can be extensive, from general pain and discomfort to heartburn and lack of sleep, poor circulation, and in some cases curvature of the spine.

Ailments

As a Pilates instructor, I see that one of the main benefits of regular Pilates sessions is improved posture, it can significantly reduce the negative effects which can be mistaken for other ailments and conditions.

For example, one of my clients was referred to the migraine clinic by their GP, having suffered debilitating headaches over many years. After the initial assessment, the migraine clinician suggested posture could be a and suggested Pilates sessions to help improve the alignment of the spine.

This client came to me and after a few sessions, noticed a reduction in the frequency and severity of migraines.*

Desk workers

Slouching causes tension in the shoulders, neck, upper and lower back and puts excessive pressure on these areas over time.

For desk-based workers,]\’/ it is vital to have the correct seat and the desk which should be set at the correct height with your arms and legs bent at right angles, with both feet resting equally on the floor.

If when sitting at the desk, you can feel pressure in the backs of your thighs this is also a sign that your chair is in the wrong position.

Many people are moving over to standing desks after research pointed to “sitting being the new smoking because in the long term it is just as bad for health!” Standing desks can be a great option as you are using more of your muscle structure to hold you up but if your posture is poor this can exacerbate problems.  

Secondary problems

As well as creating muscle tension, poor posture can affect the amount of air you can breathe into the lungs which deprives vital organs.

Pilates can help to maintain good posture and reverse the effects of bad posture – even after years of neglect.

As a rule, exercises performed during Pilates lengthen the spine and strengthen the muscles around it to help you move in a more natural way, reducing pain and discomfort. 

Why Pilates

General balance, strength, and flexibility are all improved, and this form of exercise strengthens core muscles and practices good alignment. All these benefits work together to prevent back pain and help you maintain good posture.

Pilates also helps with awareness of the muscles that help maintain good posture as you engage these during core stabilisation exercises.

As you can see I am a huge fan of Pilates and would love to hear if you have been able to improve your posture using Pilates or any other exercise.

*Please note if you are experiencing migraines, this does not replace advice from your GP.

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