Posture Exercises: Do They Cause More Problems Than They Solve?
Posture exercises are considered the best way to correct poor shape. However, did you know that no study has ever proved this! In fact, many corrective exercises can make your posture worse.
Do you think your posture is poor? Have you tried a course of exercises to correct it?
Most people would say they feel their posture could be better but why does it become poor and what is the best way to improve it?
Corrective exercises have been used for over 100 years - but the long-term benefits of such a program have yet to be proven.
In fact, I think they cause more trouble than they're worth. Improvements tend to be short-lived, because as soon as anyone stops doing them, they return to the bad habits that caused the problem in the first place.
It Ain't What You Do,...
It's The Way That You Do It
Modern living means many of us aren't as active as previous generations. Do you spend long hours sitting? You may spend time at your desk at work, in your car and then collapse on a chair in front of the TV.
I'm not being judgemental, we all do it - but it doesn't take long for our posture to suffer as a result.
Nature didn't really intend us to be inactive in one position for long periods, and many end up in a slump. Parts of our body get overworked such as our neck and shoulders, whilst others will get weaker.
It's no surprise we can end up in such a state.
Poor posture has been recognized as a factor in health for many years - but I don't hold the opinion that exercises that aim to strengthen muscles or correct imbalances are the right way to tackle the problem.
In my view, they're a waste of your valuable time. Try my quick and simple posture tip to see how you can instantly improve your shape without the need for a muscle-strengthen exercise - when you're done come back and we'll see why this can make such a difference.
Did you find it change you're whole posture?
This simple 'exercise' is about changing your concept of your underlying structure. Many of us move and hold our head as it the neck is a separate limb to the spine.
But of course the neck is the spine - the top of it. So if we get a better idea of where the head sits on the top of the spine, we'll move it and let it balance from that point.
So I believe, most people who have poor posture don't need to worry about muscle imbalances and exercises to even them out - we need to focus on how we move and hold ourselves.
You can read more on general posture
or continue on this page for my view on why exercises don't help with posture correction.
Your body has built-in postural reflexes to coordinate muscular activity for support and movement. If your posture has deteriorated over the years it's likely these reflexes aren't being allowed to work properly.
Stress may be causing you to stiffen your neck and tighten your shoulders. These actions will override your natural mechanisms for balance and movement. Constant inappropriate use of these muscles will eventually corrupt
how you move. It becomes a catch-22 problem. The more you move in a poor way, the better you get at moving this way until it feels right.
Practice makes permanent, not necessarily perfect!
Try my fitness test for
and find out if your coordination may be affecting your posture. If you move and use your muscles inappropriately they will become conditioned to work like this.
The most obvious symptom is poor posture. But these exercises won't change the habits that got you into this shape. In fact, I believe they will make the problem worse.
Your shape may appear to change but you may be achieving your new shape with unnecessary muscular activity. Remember, when you were young you probably had great posture and you didn't have to think about it once!
What's The Alternative To Posture Exercises?
If your habitual way of moving and holding yourself is causing your poor posture, it is these that have to change.
Re-education through good movement in your daily activities will help without the need to set time aside for exercises - see my exercise-free program for posture
It will take time to unlearn poor habits, after all, they take a lifetime to learn so they won't go without a fight. But it's a lot easier than spending hours on exercises!
Have a go at my
Body awareness test
to check whether your habits have changed your concept of movement.
If you didn't do too well on our test, don't worry few people do. Poor movement habits are practically universal in the adult population.
Are You Squeezing The Life Out Of Your Spine?
Too many adults hold tension where it's not needed - especially when sitting. Whilst it's important not to slump, it's also damaging to your disks to try and sit up straight.
Have a look at the photograph below and decide which position would be the most beneficial to your back.
Your head weighs an average 4 to 5 kgs. In the position on the left it's pulling her body forward and down. This causes her back muscles to work harder to keep her upright.
In the photograph on the right, her head is sitting on top of the spine with its weight going directly down the back into the pelvis, and eventually the chair.
She is balanced and doesn't need to involve any inappropriate muscles to keep her upright. Please note that this is not the traditional sitting up straight position. Her lower back is not tense (pulled in) and her chest is not thrust forward.
See if you can let the chair push your spine and head upwards and let go of your shoulders and neck muscles. Imagine balloons inflating under you arms, and let your body relax back into an upright (effortless) position.
Sitting balanced at your desk will condition your back muscles to work appropriately and correct your back without the need for exercises.
Click here to see video of correcting your sitting posture|
How To Improve Your Posture Without Exercise.|
Exercises can be dull! We all know it but we continue to look for the miracle exercise program that will solve all our problems. Well here is the good news! You will not have to spend time on daily routine exercises with this program on ebook. I ask you to spend a few minutes learning about your body and movement that will help you release tension and allow your body to balance itself - with half the effort you have been using.
Core work has become a major focus in postural correction exercises, but I believe the body doesn't work in this way. Could concentrating on core stability destroy your natural coordination? A number of therapists are beginning to question the philosophy behind this method.