Standing (Intentionally) Tall
This post is for everyone who stands. So yes, I am talking to you. This is even more important for those of you with poor posture, who are pregnant or have recently had a baby or may have a weaker core.
Standing is something everyone does, every day. But when we are standing are we promoting healthy body mechanics? Are we standing in line at the grocery store with our shoulders rounded forward? Are we standing holding a child, with one hip out to the side? Are we standing at work tucking our pelvis with our hands on our hips?
All of the above are very common and why I want to address standing intentionally. What I mean by that is, paying attention to our body's mechanics (or at least trying to) every time we are standing. The more we practice good technique, the easier our bodies will do it naturally.
Areas to focus on to improve posture:
Is there a straight line from your ears, to shoulders, to hip bones, to knees all the way to your ankles? This is the first way to make sure your posture is intentional- make sure you are standing up straight. Think about a string pulling your head up toward the ceiling and letting your body stack itself underneath.
2. Are your shoulders rounded forward or pulled back? Make sure your shoulders are pulled back and your core is engaged (more to come on engaging your core in #4).
3. Is your tailbone tucked under or flared out? You should think of having a straight line down your body and also a straight line across your pelvis. So if you drew a line from the back of your pelvis to the front, is that line pointing up (posterior pelvic tilt), pointing down (anterior pelvic tilt) or is it straight (neutral pelvis)? Work on adjusting your pelvis when standing, so that you are constantly going back to a neutral pelvis. This puts less pressure on the lower back, allows you to breathe better and helps to support the core muscles.
4. Engage your core while you stand. Think about using your core muscles (your deep ab muscles and your corset-like, oblique muscles) to pull your belly in and your chest up. You want to make sure you are differentiating between engaging your core and "sucking in" your belly. This should be a tightening movement, not holding your breath.
Overall, what we want to focus on is engaging our core whenever we can. This helps to protect our low back, encourage healthy body mechanics and lead to better posture in your everyday life!
Let me know if you have any questions!