How To Correct Posture With Pilates

The fact is, no one has a perfect posture.  Yes, there are those who benefit from a more aligned spine and therefore a better posture, but everyone has to who work at it, and Pilates provides the perfect mechanisms to do that.  So what is Pilates and how can it help everyone, including athletes?  Pilates is strength, flexibility and control of the body.  To quote Joseph Pilates (Founder of Pilates) “A man is as young as his spinal column”.

 

WHAT IS PILATES?

Joseph Pilates grew up in Dusseldorf, Germany in the 1880s.  He was unfortunately a sickly child who suffered numerous asthma attacks as well as rheumatic fever, which left him with an underdeveloped bone structure as well as distorted limbs.  Joseph refused to let his health situation dictate his physical and mental capabilities, working hard to produce exercises that would correct and strengthen his body.  The first of these exercises is more commonly referred to as mat work, later known as ‘The Art of Contrology.’  Evolving the exercise regime after 1st world war, Joseph worked in a hospital in The Isle of Man, helping the bedridden and wounded by strengthening their bodies and muscles, getting them mobile once again.  Using bedsprings attached to a bedframe helped the wounded move more freely, whilst keeping their muscles toned.  This equipment later developed to what is now referred to as a ‘Cadillac’.

 

HOW POOR POSTURE MAY AFFECT THE BODY

Posture is not just a matter of standing up straight, it may also affect good health.  When organs are not working to their full potential, balance may be disturbed and the spine may incur injuries.  Poor posture is not always down to habit, although repeating certain movement repetitively, can have an effect on the spine’s alignment.  It may be due to the way a spine curves, for example:

  • Lordosis – extended curvature of the lower back, which may cause lower back pain.
  • Abnormal Kyphosis- affecting the dorsal area and commonly referred to as a hunchback, includes back pain, muscle exhaustion and stiffness.
  • Scoliosis – sideward curvature of the spine. Symptoms may include, leaning to one side, ribs sticking out to one side, or uneven shoulders, which may cause clothes not to fit correctly.  Adults often suffer from back pain caused by this affliction. (please note there are several types of scoliosis from genetic to habitual)
  • Swayback – hypermobility beyond normal range gives the appearance of a swayback. This issue may cause chronic back pain.
  • Flatback – lower back loses its natural curvature, which may cause severe back pain.

 

HOW TO CORRECT POSTURE WITH THE PILATES METHOD

Partaking in Pilates on a regular basis can offer the following benefits: healthy spine, even shoulders and hips and body weight dispersed evenly on both sides of the body.  Initial work consists of a combination of floor work (mat) and the reformer which is a resistance carriage that moves back and forth along a track making the subject work within the apportioned space helping align the spine and strengthening the body.  In some studios selected exercises may be introduced on the Cadillac, a table with springs which enables a person to exercise with the support of springs. The classical Pilates method is good for everyone, including athletes who want to improve their performance.  Pilates will develop their alignment, muscle configuration, endurance, improve flexibility, and help coordination and balance, all aiding the prevention of injuries and potentially improving the body’s longevity.

Whether the class is a group or a private lesson, it is all about technique. Athletes have experienced many benefits from the Pilates methods, some of which include:

 

  • Increased flexibility
  • Muscle efficiency and balance
  • Strength
  • Increased mobile movement
  • Cognitive focus

 

Ficmax Ergonomic High-back Large Size Office Desk Chair
Ficmax Ergonomic High-back Large Size Office Desk Chair

 

Pilates is different from many exercise regimes because it concentrates on a whole body approach, using the core (the spine and surrounding muscles) as the key to strengthen muscles, align posture, and rescue internal organs from damage.  Once the posture and the core start to correct, breathing, circulation, strength and mobility follow.  Classical Pilates has many positive attributes for those who want to improve physical performance, as well as benefit health.  The one thing Pilates possesses that no other method has is the ability to protect the body’s core, whilst pushing expectations and achieving results that a person may have not thought possible, especially those who have notably suffered from poor posture.

Being precise in movement is the key to success, so be sure to research a well established Pilates venue. To read more about the benefits of Pilates in athletes, please follow this link www.stack.com

 

 

RESOURCES

https://www.thebodeswell.com/

Harvard Health

American Family Physician

 

 

Don’t Be A Slouch – How To Fix Poor Posture

Many people have poor posture or it could use some improvement.  It’s something to be aware of, yet many don’t act to change it.  Why should posture be taken seriously and what affect can it have on health?  The American Posture Institute claims recent research shows cognitive development in children, repertory restriction, and negative emotional issues have all been effected by poor posture.

 

Posture Errors

In order to correct poor posture, recognizing the symptoms, is fundamental to the solution.  The following list identifies common mistakes people make, which may lead to incorrect posture:

  • Sticking buttocks out
  • Slouching whilst standing or sitting
  • Text neck – frequently looking down at your phone
  • Rounded shoulders
  • Sticking chin out
  • Standing leaning weight on one side

 

100% Pure Memory Foam Back Cushion
100% Pure Memory Foam Back Cushion

 

 

 

 

 

Give This A Try

Not realizing bad posture is present can result in bad habits which may lead to health problems.  Try the following methods to correct posture habits and if this doesn’t work, then contacting a doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor may be necessary:

  • Sticking buttocks out may cause hyperlordosis which is an over curved lower spine. Sometimes caused by pregnancy or heavy weight around the stomach.  Strengthening the core muscles with Pilates exercises are recommended. (Visit a class to ensure exercises are done correctly).
  • If slouching whilst standing, imagine something connecting the top of the head to the ceiling and pulling upwards. Keep the shoulders parallel to the hips, and down.  Pull in the stomach and keep feet equal amounts apart ensuring the body weight is evenly distributed.  Keeping the head straight and legs straight, will also help body alignment.
  • Hunching over to text or type can lead to a week upper back and stiffness. Exercises to strengthen these weakened muscles, include tucking in your chin to increase neck muscles, Pull-ups and the plank as well as pulling in stomach to regain a natural curve.
  • Rounded shoulders are caused by prolonged bad posture which has led to weakened muscles in the back. Strengthening the core with Pilate exercises is ideal.  Using the rower at the gym or doing the bridge pose will help (Yoga is great for bridge pose exercises).
  • Sticking the chin out maybe a simple as correcting an office chair. Seats in front of computers are frequently too low, leading to a hunch back.  Higher the office chair, elongate the neck, pull shoulder blades back and pull in stomach muscles to regain the natural curve.
  • Leaning weight onto the one side can make a person feel comfortable so a habit is easily made. Unfortunately, this can lead to an imbalance in muscle groups with one side being stronger than the other.  Very common in women who have been carrying toddlers on their hip, or someone carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder.
  • Bridge exercises are great for distributing muscle strength as well as lateral pelvic leg raises.  Lateral pelvic leg raises may be done at home.  An example of this is, lying on the front with forehead resting on hands and legs on the floor.  Lifting one leg up and down, whilst keeping stomach and buttocks tight and not lifting the hip off the floor.  Repeat 12 times then switch legs.

 

It’s Not Too Late

A clinical review in the British Medical Journal, gives examples of how history, body build, accidents, disease, and confidence may all result in posture being changed.  An historical example of this is the tight corsets women wore in the 17th century, which narrowed their natural waste drastically and changed their posture.  A disease which may give poor posture would be Osteoporosis.  Poor nutrition and vitamin deficiency may also have a bad influence on the spine.

What ever the reason for poor posture, it may not be too late to change it.  If, after time, the exercises suggested have little to no improvement on posture, please visit a doctor for further instruction.  Posture is important from a health prospective as well as improving self confidence, so next time when sloughing, sit up straight and correct the posture.

For more articles about posture, exercise, diet, health and wellness, check out GetThrive.com, today!

 

Don't Be A Slouch - How To Fix Poor Posture
Don’t Be A Slouch – How To Fix Poor Posture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESOURCES

Pilate Posture Exercises

Lateral Pelvic tilt exercises

British Medical Journal Clinical Review on Posture

 

Believe You’re Healthy and You May Live Longer

In the health department, it appears there’s another element we need to add to our daily regimen. Eating nutritiously is on the “must-do” list. Add to that some exercise. Then, of course, there’s getting a good night’s sleep. But, are enough people talking about mindset?

Mind Your Muscles

Evidently, believing you are healthy and physically active may be just as important as being active. A recent study out of Stanford University followed over 60,000 American adults for 21 years. The research was published in the journal Health Psychology and showed an association between life span and healthy thinking.

The study presented interesting data: Those who thought or believed they were less active (but in reality weren’t) were more likely to die sooner. Their mindset had an effect. Even when their physical activity levels were similar to others in their age group,  “those who believed they were physically less active were up to 71 percent more likely to die during the follow-up period than those who believed that they were more active.”

Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies

Fortunately, there is a growing trend of studies showing that our mindsets and attitudes affect our long-term health. The connection between the mind and body is undeniable. Optimism is often associated with stress reduction. Positive outlooks can reap beneficial rewards.

GetThrive.com has also recently posted some informative material about the link between mental and physical health and the workplace. Additionally, there are various other articles on the site promoting the importance of taking care of our bodies and minds. If you like what you see, sign up for our newsletter!

Sources:

https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/07/29/Study-Thinking-youre-less-active-could-shorten-your-life/3411501343817/?utm_source=sec&utm_campaign=sl&utm_medium=20

 

 

 

What Recurring Headaches Should Tell You

If you suffer from chronic, recurring headaches, you are not alone. The National Headache Foundation reports that over 45 million Americans suffer from recurring headaches. Roughly 28 million of these people also suffer from migraines.

The causes vary significantly by individual. In fact, there have been 150 types of headaches identified in research and case studies. It is easy to see why a solution for one person may not work for the next person.

Potential Causes of Recurring Headaches

Unfortunately, the normal, common headache that can occur daily in some individuals may not have a specific cause.

Although most headache causes are not understood well, there are some common reasons that you may be suffering from recurring headaches.

  • Contraction of the neck and scalp muscles: Tension headaches are by far the most common type of headache. If you are experiencing a tension headache, then you may feel pressure at your temples, back of the head, and neck. Although experts are unsure of why this headache occurs, they suspect that contraction of the neck and scalp muscles may be to blame. This could be a stress response, but they are otherwise unsure why these muscles would contract.
  • Dehydration: Being dehydrated can cause headaches. Try drinking water and resting to help your headache go away faster. Skipping meals can cause headaches as well.
  • Rebound headaches: This type of headache occurs when you take too much over-the-counter pain medication. You are at a higher risk for this type of headache if you take pain medication for more than two days a week or nine days during a month.
  • Sinus headaches: Those who having trouble with their sinuses may experience recurring sinus headaches. This type of headache is generally caused due to inflamed sinuses or sinus infections. However, some sinus headaches occur without an infection or other signs of sickness like fever or fatigue.
  • Genetics: Believe it or not, your genetics may play a role in whether you have recurring headaches. Cluster headaches and Migraine headaches, two of the most severe types of headaches, can be passed down from generation to generation. There is no cure for these types of headaches, and pain killers generally only reduce the severity or the length of an episode.

Other Headache Causes

Headaches are also more likely to occur in people that have certain attributes. For example, if you are overweight, you are more likely to get headaches. Severely overweight individuals have an 80 percent higher risk of having recurring headaches. A related finding determined that those who are inactive are more likely to get headaches compared to those who engage in 20 to 30 minutes of cardio activity five times per week.

The type of headache that you normally have can say a lot about the causes. Talk to your doctor about your specific type of headache—with a detailed description of the symptoms—so he or she can help you fight back against your recurring headaches.