Updated: Mar 23
Over the last ten years, most of the clients I’ve worked with have wanted to improve their posture because they either want to get out of pain, change the way they look, or reduce their risk of future pain and injuries. Sometimes all three!
Try researching on the internet how to improve your posture, and there’s a good chance you’ll quickly become disillusioned with all the conflicting advice and the sheer volume of information out there!
Here are five myths which are prevalent and that I’d like you to avoid.
Myth No. 1 – To have good posture, you’ve got to think your way to it.
This comes from the belief that having good posture is about consciously forcing your body into a certain position so that you sit or stand up straighter.
This is not a good long-term strategy.
How many times have you tried to sit or stand up straighter and then a while later you get distracted and end up back in your normal position?
Furthermore, for many people trying to sit or stand up straighter can feel uncomfortable or even painful because their muscles are not ready to hold them in this position.
Myth No. 2 – Puff your chest out, and pull your shoulders and head back
This leads on from myth no. 1. We want your shoulders and head to be in good alignment, but we need to find out why they are out of position in the first place!
One common one is that your upper back has rounded forward, and is pushing your shoulders and head forward too.
If you just try and pull your shoulders and head back it won’t last, it may feel uncomfortable and how do you know you’re in the so-called right position anyway?
A better strategy would be to tackle the upper back rounding!
Myth No. 3 – It’s genetics
In my experience most postural misalignments are the result of habits, stresses and injuries. It’s rarely your genetics and in most cases it can be improved.
Myth No. 4 – Suck your tummy in
Imagine if I told you to tense your biceps as you went along with your normal day. It would not be appropriate and actually be a bit silly.
The same is true with your abdominal muscles. If your body is working the way it should, then they will engage or ‘tense’ when they need to.
I always tell my clients not to consciously adjust how they walk and move.
Your body should know what it’s doing - subconsciously – it’s the creation of millions of years of evolution. It’s probably not a good idea to get in the way!
Myth No. 5 – You just need to strengthen your core
The problem is when this advice is given out as a general way to improve posture or help with back pain.
In some people it might be a great idea if it’s done in a safe and targeted way, but with many people it could be a terrible idea.
Imagine a tall building leaning over to one side with cracks forming. Would you want to put more concrete on it to make it stronger?
It might help it withstand extra stress for a little while longer, but those cracks would appear again. Wouldn’t it make more sense to get that building into proper alignment first and then add the concrete?
The same applies to your body.
I often tell my clients “before you strengthen, you need to straighten”, otherwise you could just be strengthening and re-enforcing your imbalances.
So what should you do to improve your posture?
Well, your posture is affected by the balance and function of your muscles. If they’re working well then your body is likely to be in good alignment.
So a better approach is to improve the balance of these muscles from the left to right, and from the front to back.
I give my clients gentle targeted posture correction exercises to do daily. These exercises stretch and strengthen certain parts of their body, and over time improve their posture without them even having to think about it!
You can see one of my favourite posture correction exercises here:
Click here for Ameet’s website - https://healththroughposture.co.uk/