Look better feel better for 2023Dec 01, 2022
With Christmas upon us I’d like to give you a little gift – a little something that will make you look and feel better, not just for now but for the rest of your life.
Most of us have some challenges with our posture, and the way we move and exercise. You may get some stiffness and discomfort in your neck, shoulders, or lower back, or in your knees or hips. Often people assume it’s just part of ageing and there’s not much you can do about it! Well do I have news for you!
As I discussed in last month’s article, we need to develop more awareness of how we are moving and supporting our bodies, not just when we exercise but also when we sit, stand, walk, and move through our day.
Look at yourself in a mirror, standing front on and side on. What do you see? Alarm bells if you see any of the following:
- Hunched shoulders and forward or dropped head
- Rounded upper back
- Excessive arch or no arch in the lower back
- Ribcage tilted forward or ribcage tilted back
- Locked knees when standing
- One or both knees turning inward when sitting, standing, walking, lunging, or squatting
There’s more, but these are some of the obvious ones. This month I’m going to share a few simple tips to help you straighten yourself out and get yourself feeling and looking better in everything that you do.
Basically, you need to wake up and strengthen the muscles in your midback, belly and butt.
The best way to do that is:
- Lift your chin and chest
Whether you’re standing, sitting, walking, squatting, twisting, or turning, lifting your chin and chest will help you engage your mid back muscles, taking the strain off your neck and shoulders. It helps prevents rounding of your upper back and helps you regain or retain that all-important neutral spine which is a small arch in your lower back.
- Soften your knees
ALWAYS have a slight bend in your knees when you stand or walk. We call this “soft knees”, and this will help you to align and strengthen the muscles around your knee joints, reducing pain and wear and tear, improving your balance, AND making it easier to engage the muscles of your belly and butt which is point 3.
- Lightly draw your belly IN toward your spine and slightly squeeze your butt cheeks together.
Feel how together with your lifting your chin and chest, this centres and aligns your ribcage. Notice how this “lifts” and supports your upper body, reducing pressure on your lower back, hips, and knees.
- Keep your knees aligned with your feet
Whether sitting or standing, keeping your knees aligned with your feet will keep your leg muscles more balanced and your joints more aligned, again helping prevent pain and excessive wear and tear in the knee joints and the hips.
It really is that simple! Take some time to make these little adjustments part of everything that you do, and you’ll be ready for a fitter, stronger and more pain-free 2023.
As featured in Seasons Magazine's December 2022 Issue
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