Exercise and Posture
So this year I have developed a HUGE love with exercise and food to the point that I am currently doing my Level 3 Qualification in Personal Training – I have managed to just complete my course in Gym Instructing so I am half way though. WOW, I have already learnt so so much and I want to pass on some of my anatomy and physiology knowledge with you.
What is Posture?
So, posture is so important and optimal posture can be defined as
“Whereby the body can carry its weight and that of gravity with minimal muscular effort and limited joint compression and shearing forces of the body”.
It is important to maintain a neutral spine due to the following reasons:
– Prevention of joint and ligament damage from the vertebral column
– Performing weight-bearing exercises with bio-mechanical efficiency
– The transmission of stressors through the pelvis caused by impact
Below shows how a spine should be aligned.
Now, on my course I have had to analyse postures and there are three main abnormalities that I will discuss which are:
Hyper – Kyphosis
This is basically an excessive curvature of the thoracic spine. The head and shoulders move significantly towards the plumb line and this can also be referred to as “rounded shoulders”.
The cause for this can be:
– clients occupation, for example if a client spends all day on the computer screen due to a job
There can be so many problems with this including:
– The cervical spine to develop an excessive curve to compensate to try and bring the head back towards the plumb line
– It will affect the position of the scapulae and the shoulder joints
– Tension will result in the neck and is a common cause of headaches
To fix this type of posture would be:
– Stretching (this will target muscles in the pectorals major, the deep neck flexor, rectus abdominal and possibly upper trapezium.
– It is important that strengthening exercises are performed and muscles are at optimal length
Hyper – Lordosis
This posture abnormality is an excessive lordotic curvature of the lumbar spine. The pelvis tilts anteriorly beyond its neutral position and the abdomen moves relative to the plumb line, whilst the buttock moves backwards.
The cause for this can be:
– Related to some sporting activities where a hyper-lordoic posture is encouraged or perhaps the individual is carrying additional weight in the abdominal area due to pregnancy or obesity
– This can place a lot of pressure on the intervertebral discs
To fix this posture:
– Awareness is usually found in the tilt of the pelvis
– Several muscles are involved in holding the pelvis in its neutral position and they need the be balanced
– The lumbar erector spinae and hip flexors become shortened. The antagonistic muscles to these, the abdominal group and the gluteus maximus are weakened and lengthened
– The external obliques will also need to be lengthened
– Exercises to fix this type of abnormality will be the gluteus maximus and hamstrings – this can over time help to re-establish correct pelvic tilt and eliminate a hyper lordatic posture
This refers to the lateral curvature of the spine away from its neutral plumb line position when viewed from behind. Most people have a degree of this due to a dominant side – for me I am right handed, so I now carry my bag on my left hand side for example.
If the curve becomes significant serious health problems can occur. The cause can be genetic for example one leg has grown longer than the other which tilts the pelvis to one side. When correcting this abnormality unilateral exercises will need to be done – where each side of the body works independently so the stronger side cannot help the weaker side. For strengthening, dumbbell exercises would be good and so would resistance machines.
This can be defined as “the ability to prevent unwanted movement of the body’s centre”. Core stability is so important because the axial skeleton provides a base for the appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton is the foundation of the movement. As an individual moves their arms and legs, forces are applied to the core. See below the axial and appendicular skeleton:
The core stability has three different systems which I will discuss below:
1. Passive System
This uses the structure of the vertebrae and the discs along with the spinal ligaments to provide stability.
2. Active System
This is made up of the muscles of the core – the muscles can be divided into deep and global muscles.
3. Neutral Control
Proprioceptors are important for the sequence in which muscles contract to prevent unwanted and wanted contraction of muscles.
How to improve core stability?
Different exercises can be done to improve the core – the first thing would be to address the posture of exactly how the body is. Postural realignment comes before core stability!!!!
Exercises that would be beneficial include:
- Static exercises
- Equipment can be used like a stability ball or stability disc which creates an unstable surface encouraging stabilising muscles into action. This can improve the body’s awareness of the stabilising muscles far more quickly
- Static stretching is important and dynamic stretching can also be introduced (which is performed with controlled movements)
Improving the core will result in:
- Decreased the risk to injury of the spine, shoulder girdle and associated joints
- Improved appearance
- Improved balance and motor skills
- Improved lung capacity
- Decreased risk of falls due to correction in the centre of gravity
Get your posture checked out and start to do work on your CORE!!! Big Love, Maya xxx
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