Stand Tall with Sammy

Most of us spend the majority of our day staring down at our phones, computers or both. This has had a huge effect on the average persons posture, and has resulted in a load of pain and tension around the neck, shoulders and back. Most of us have come to accept this as just a fact of life that goes along with our modern condition, where we are slaves to technology. 

What if I told you that you could improve your posture, and reduce the pain and tension that you feel around your neck, shoulders, and back preventing and potentially eliminating further pain in the future ? Here are my 4 top tips to improve your posture and reduce tension in your neck, shoulders and back. 

1. Mobilising

Mobilising the upper back and the shoulders is one of the most important things that you can do to improve your posture and reduce tension around the neck and shoulders. This can be done with stretches, foam rolling/myofascial release, and also in your regular Pilates classes! Your upper spine should be responsible for most of the movement in your back, too often we see stiffness in the upper spine and overuse in the lower back, which can cause not only upper back pain, but also lower back pain. 

2. Re-training muscles/improving mind body connection

A really common problem that I see that further exacerbates the tension in and around the neck, shoulders and upper back is that your body has become used to using incorrect muscles to perform certain movements. These movements can range from everyday movements, to exercises that you perform in class or at the gym. If your muscles are used to performing incorrectly and recruiting incorrect muscles for certain movements, than your tension will only continue to increase. If you take the time and effort to retrain these muscles to learn to work properly, than eventually you won’t have to think hard to use the right muscles for movements, and it will happen naturally. The greatest benefit of re-training the muscles is that it often fixes and corrects the problems that are causing the pain and the tension in the first place. This can result in pain and tension free neck shoulders and back.

3. Strengthening

Most of the time we find that our upper back and shoulder muscles have become weak, having a detrimental affect on our posture and general health and well being. Core strength is also extremely important to help correcting posture, as weakness in the core negatively affects posture, sometimes resulting in back pain. Learning to engage and strengthen the lower and deeper core muscles is essential for better posture. With simple strengthening exercises you can build the strength to help keep your core and upper back muscles working to support and correct your posture enabling you to stand tall again. 

4. Taking a break from technology

Sometimes one of the best and simplest things to do is take a break from technology. Unplug from your phone, computer, TV, iPad etc. and force yourself to take a walk around the office, the house, the block, the park etc. Get your body moving and get your head out of your hands, consciously open the chest, and draw the shoulder blades together and down, engage the core and start to stand a little taller. Try to make a concentrated effort on giving yourself a quick break from technology at least once an hour. Even if you just walk around on the spot or do a quick stretch for a minute or two, this will really assist in resetting your posture and mind, giving you a bit of a release. 

If you would like some assistance and guidance to start working on the above I am currently offering a £25 introductory special (usually priced at £55) at the Bushey studio to get you started on your journey to pain free neck and shoulders and improved posture.

Sammy Wood
Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer

All services are provided by instructors on a self-employed basis.

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