Posture and Body Alignment Exercise
The first thing one must understand about posture is that it is not just a matter of sitting straight or lying down. There are many other factors involved in maintaining proper posture. For example, when standing up from a chair with your feet together, you need to keep them apart so that they do not touch each other. If you place your hands on either side of your head, then you will have a problem with keeping your neck straight.
Similarly, if you put your arms out to the sides, then they will be too long and may cause problems with keeping your shoulders back.
Another point to note is that there are different types of postures:
1) Straight-legged Postures (also called “supine” or “flat” postures): These are those where the legs are straight and parallel to each other.
They include kneeling, sitting, and even walking.
2) Kneeling Postures: These are those where the knees are bent at a 90 degree angle to the hips.
They include squatting, sitting, and even walking.
3) Sitting Postures: These are those where the person sits with their legs extended out in front of them while keeping their butt close to the ground.
They include cross-legged sitting, kneeling, and even cross-legged walking.
4) Standing Postures: These are those where the person stands with their feet together.
They do not include walking. This posture is most often found in statues of people.
5) Walking Postures: These are those where both feet are in motion and are not in the same line.
They include walking, running, and dancing.
The body can be divided into five main sections with regard to posture: the head and neck, the chest and torso, the pelvis, the upper legs, and the feet. The position of these sections in relationship to one another is an important factor when considering one’s posture.
Posture and body alignment exercises
Posture is very much like a roller coaster ride. The idea is not to fall off of it. When starting out on one’s posture training, it is best to use a mirror or a video camera to watch your own posture. When you see yourself doing something incorrectly, then you can correct it right then and there.
The uses of mirrors and video cameras are not limited to just posture training. They can also be used as tools for when one is standing in line at the bank or the grocery store. It is important to maintain the natural curves of the spine. The back should be straight and not curved forward or backward. The head should be held high, with the chin parallel to the floor. There should not be a great difference between the height of the shoulders and the top of the head. The shoulders should be held back, not slumped around the ears or raised all the way up to the ears.
Eventually, one will not need the mirror or the video camera anymore. The muscles in the body will naturally pull one into the correct position. This is why posture exercises are sometimes called “feel exercises.” They are called this because they are not visual; they are done primarily through feel.
A good example of this would be when one is standing in line and another person breaks into the line. The chest should be out, with the abdomen tucked in. It is important to keep the pelvis tilted forward.
The feet should be shoulder width apart and turned out slightly. When one is standing still, the toes should be pointing straight ahead. When one is walking, the heel of each foot should be the only part touching the floor. If one puts too much weight on the front of the foot when walking or running, then he or she is likely to trip and fall.
The person with good posture will naturally react by making a space between them and the interloper without even thinking about it. If the person has poor posture, then they are more likely to take up the extra space or even push the interloper out of the way.
There are five main natural curves in the spine. The first is the neck curve. It looks like a “C.” The second is the mid back curve.
A good way to get the feel of this is to close the eyes. If one can walk with the toes turned out slightly, with the feet shoulder width apart and the knees only slightly bent, then and only then can one open his or her eyes.
When one is sitting down, there should not be a great deal of space between the back of the chair and the back. It looks like an “S.” The third is the low back curve. It looks like another “S.” The fourth is the butt curve.
It looks like a backwards “C.” The fifth and final one is the front hip curve. It also looks like a backwards “C.” All of these curves need to be kept intact for good posture.
One should think of their body as a house with a roof, a front, a back, two sides, and a floor. This will cause one to slump forward and put unnecessary strain on the back muscles. The third curve is known as the low back curve and this looks like a “C” turned sideways. There should be a slight arch in the low back when one is standing or seated normally.
The fourth curve is known as the buttock curve. As the name implies, it is located in the buttocks. This curve looks like a “W” and can be felt most easily when one is standing. If one feels along the back of their leg, the top part of the “W” is located in the upper part of the buttock and goes into the upper, or top, torso.
The hip and the buttock join at a sharp angle in what is called the iliac crest. When one touches this area, it can be felt as a bony prominence. This area connects to the thigh, which connects to the knee and then down to the foot.
The big toe is the one that is located the most forward. The next two are a bit angled in, and the fourth is the longest, but slightly angled out. Last is the pinky toe, which is the only one that is angled out more than it is angled in. When one walks, this causes the foot to point down slightly towards the ground.
The ankle should also roll inwards slightly.
The first, or topmost, bone of the forearm is called the humerus. It connects to the shoulder with a ball-and-socket joint. The second bone is the radius. It connects to the elbow with a hinge joint.
The third bone is the one that looks like a y in shape and is connected to the wrist with a simple hinge joint. The fourth and last bone is the one that is shaped like an L, and it connects to the pinky with a simple hinge joint as well.
The sternum is located in the center of the chest. It is not only a sturdy bone, but it serves an important purpose in respiration. The collar bones are called the clavicles and they connect to the upper part of the arms. The upper part of the arms are called the brachium.
The spine is made up of individual bones called the vertebrae. These bones are different from most other bones in the body because they do not have a solid center. They have a center called the spinal canal, and this canal houses and protects the spinal cord, which is critically important for motor control and sensory input.
The rib cage is made up of twelve individual ribs. There are three groups of four ribs and each group attaches to a vertebrae. The first seven ribs are attached with joints that allow them to move very slightly, but the last five are attached with joints that allow limited movement as well as giving the ribcage a natural expansion and contraction as one breathes.
The pelvis is made up of three bones. The two sides are called the ilium, and these attach to the hipbone with strong ligaments. Between the two ilium are muscles that allow for locomotion. The last bone is the pygal, which is located at the back of the pelvis and attaches to the spine.”
Sources & references used in this article:
Physical therapy management of patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis by VJ Rhodes – Physical Therapy, 1991 – academic.oup.com
Review of secondary physical conditions associated with lower-limb amputation and long-term prosthesis use. by R Gailey, K Allen, J Castles… – Journal of …, 2008 – rehab.research.va.gov
Healing of a painful intervertebral disc should not be confused with reversing disc degeneration: implications for physical therapies for discogenic back pain by MA Adams, M Stefanakis, P Dolan – Clinical Biomechanics, 2010 – Elsevier
Relax into yoga for seniors: A six-week program for strength, balance, flexibility, and pain relief by K Carson, C Krucoff – 2016 – books.google.com