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Glamour & Gains


Mar 26, 2019

Finding the Balance: Corrective exercises, daily habits, breathing, and living pain-free.

This episode might sound about as much fun as watching paint dry and 1 you want to skip but bear with me as good postures not just about looks. Poor posture has been directly related to issues such as neck & back pain, migraines, fatigue, and in some cases early death. The problem is most of us aren’t aware of this. It’s actually said, “Posture is the foundation to health”. Yet so many people have never even been told about it.

Last year time I had the opportunity to talk at the World Posture Virtual Summit. The best doctors and health professionals from around the World gave master classes on the most effective ways to correct your posture and simple solutions on the types of things you can be doing to help improve your posture to help you look, move and feel better.  

After years as a professional dancer, personal trainer, and Sports Massage Therapist I had insights to share both from seeing clients and my own issues: I have scoliosis which also causes 1 leg to be longer than the other as well as a reverse curve in my neck.

The full master class is on YouTube but these were the key takeaways.

If you're like most of the population that spend so much time sitting, then chances are you'll have one of the most common postural issues seen today: Sitting disease and Tech Neck (yes, they're actual things and they can be fixed).

From dancing, I transitioned into fitness as a way to help people reach their goals the proper way: healthily and slowly by creating lifestyle habits. One of the most interesting courses I completed was Sports massage therapy where I learned about body mechanics. This was a more defining moment than anything I'd learned in my personal training certifications. Nutrition, Exercise, and Posture are the 3 pillars to optimal health.  As much as we think we can, you really can't do anything 100% if your posture isn't correct.  That probably sounds like an exaggeration but when your postures not correct it can lead to:

  1. ORGAN IMPINGEMENT
  2. FATIGUE
  3. PAIN
  4. POOR CIRCULATION
  5. BREATHING DIFFICULTY
  6. HEADACHES
  7. WEAR AND TEAR ON YOUR SPINE AND JOINTS
  8. A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS. 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GOOD POSTURE?

When your bones are in alignment, your muscles and lungs can function more efficiently. Good posture also helps to prevent injury, strain on your ligaments, and allows you to breath more easily. If your postures off, you can’t work your muscles evenly or activate them fully. Posture affects you not just physically but mentally.  If you’re not driving, humor me and try this:

Stand up and strike a power pose; a power pose is anything with open body language that makes you feel powerful! I personally love the 'Wonder Woman' pose. The structure of our body dictates the function, notice how when you hold a power pose, you have more confidence; posture really changes how we feel physically and mentally about ourselves through that strong posture. 

HOW DOES POSTURE AFFECT BREATHING?

Take a moment and notice how you're breathing; your breathing is directly correlated to your posture. When you're upright, it's so much easier to breathe!

Whenever you have a moment; slow your breathing down, switch from shallow chest breathing to deep belly breathing, and let go of any tension.

POSTURE CAN HELP YOU WITH CONFIDENCE & PERFORMANCE.

Whether that’s for an interview, on stage, public speaking, or pageants. Most jobs come down to your interview.  It's where you meet your potential employer or judge(s), and where your posture is critical; it can automatically make you look more or less confident from the moment you walk through the door.

Secondly, muscular balance and core strength creates overall balance, which means you’re less likely to fall, unless your heel breaks, you didn't put the correct soles on your shoes, or they just waxed the floors.

When you have balanced muscles and a strong core, your good posture will allow you to carry yourself with poise. In bodybuilding competitions and pageants it's even more important when they're judging you on your tapered waist and symmetry.

HOW CAN YOU CORRECT YOUR POSTURE AT THE GYM?

These are the Common Posture Mistakes People Make At the Gym and how to work on fixing them to prevent injury and maximize results. 

  • Don’t work just mirror muscles. I know we all want to look good in the mirror but if you only focus on the muscles you see in the mirror, you’re setting yourself up to create muscular and postural imbalances. Don’t forget your reverse chai muscles. Create muscular balance but training the body 360 degrees: work forward, backward, laterally and diagonally. For every push do a pull, for every contraction and extension.
  • Set fixed path machines correctly for your size. Listen to your body; if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it and switch to using free weights or body weight. Free weights are great at creating balance in the body, as you can’t compensate with your strong side. If you’re too big or too small for the machines, skip them entirely and find alternatives.
  • Don’t use momentum! It’s easy to want to go hard and heavy, to compete with others around you, to not want to look weak but the gym is not the place to be vain! It’ll only lead to injuries and compensating which can lead to imbalances. Drop the weight until you can lift with perfect form and then show off your technique rather than how much you can’t lift and limping out of the gym. I told you this podcast is a no BS zone and you’re not always going to like what I have to say BUT you will love the results and not getting injured.

NOW WE’VE COVERED THE WHYS AND COMMON MISTAKES HERE ARE OUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BETTER POSTURE ON A DAILY BASIS.

  1. BE SELF-AWARE WHEREVER YOU ARE: take time to do a quick mental check-in and body scan. How are you sitting/standing? Are you leaning to 1 side? Is your weight placed evenly? Are you slumping? Are you breathing properly? If not, consciously put yourself where you need to be. I know I have a tendency to slump when I’ve been sat typing for a while.
  2. GET TO KNOW YOUR BODY AND DO CORRECTIVE EXERCISES: strengthening and stretching to get or keep everything in balance. Work your body evenly to create balance, which in turn will create good posture. If you’re not sure where to start ask the trainers at your gym or read this great article on bodybuilding.com don’t be scared by the website name, this advice applies to everyone.
  3. WORK YOUR CORE AND BACK MUSCLES TO LITERALLY CREATE A BRACE FOR YOUR SPINE.  Remember when you’re doing these exercises to activate the muscles you want to work and create a mind-body connection as well as pulling in your stomach rather than allowing it to push out.

Click here for the best core muscle exercises by the Mayo Clinic

Lastly, if your muscles and joints are feeling stiff in the morning don’t rush into static (held) stretches but keep it dynamic (moving) as you’re muscles aren’t warm and pliable as soon as you jump out of bed. Maybe jump is the wrong word for most of us in the morning and crawl would’ve been better. I’m definitely a 2-cup of coffee to get my day started kind of girl.

Gently rolling down as far as you can towards the floor with soft knees and back up, trying to isolate vertebra by vertebrae, gentle side bends, and slow neck circles are all good ways to ease rather than force out the kinks.

Let me know how you get on with these and feel free to drop me a message on Facebook or Instagram if you have any questions. The full master class is on YouTube linked below.

WATCH THE FULL 'FINDING THE BALANCE' POSTURE INTERVIEW HERE.

World Posture Summit interview with Eve Dawes. This WBFF pro discusses 'Finding the Balance' with everything from corrective exercises, daily habits, breathing and living pain-free.

About Your Host

Eve Dawes is a fitness professional, WBFF Pro Diva, NASM & REPS certified trainer, Founder of Dawes Custom Cosmetics an all-natural, cruelty-free cosmetic line and FitnessByEve.com.

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