10 steps to better posture
Licensed massage therapist Jennifer Sterner of Jim Thorpe demonstrates the proper way to sit while at your desk and computer. Keep your shoulders and head aligned straight above the hips. When leaning forward, it's best to lean from the hips, without slumping at the back of the waist. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO
Your mother may have told you to walk with a book on your head or stand up straight with chin up, but in today's tech world, how many of us actually follow that advice? It's time to straighten up, feel strong and look your best!
Author and exercise physiologist Alice Ann Dailey shares her top 10 tips for proper form to improve your posture at any age.
Do these every day
1. Stand and walk with knees pointing forward. This places the thigh bones in the healthiest position into the hip sockets. It will balance core and surface hip muscles, strengthen abdominals, and provide blood circulation and lubrication to the hip sockets.
2. Point toes, especially the middle toes, forward. It aids in placing the knees forward and improves body balance.
3. Fit your feet with shoes that do not bind your toes together, but allow movement for your toes. Your toes are your second heart. When the toes are able to move, there is better blood circulation from your feet to your heart and more oxygen to your toes, which can help prevent toenail fungus.
4. Carry pelvis with tail bone pointing down toward the heels of your feet. Unlike a rooster tail or sad-dog tail position, this places the pelvis in a balanced position that lengthens the lumbar spine, strengthens abdominal and gluteal muscles, and places organs inside the pelvis in a healthy position.
5. Stand up shoulders wide with the sternum (breast bone) vertical. This alignment increases inhalation and prevents rounded shoulders, forward head position, and weakened abdominal muscles.
6. Turn elbows outward. With collar bones open, shoulders wide, and elbows pointing outward, three core rotator cuff muscles are activated along with core muscles of the front and back of the shoulder girdle and latissimus dorsi (love handle) muscles.
7. Keep head level. With the opening of the ear vertical, the chin pointing downward, and back of the ears upward, the cervical curve of the neck will have enough length in the back and strength in the front. The balance sensors inside the inner ears will be in the healthiest position. Before turning your head to look at something up, down, right or left, turn your eyes first as children look. The eye movements activate many muscles of the body.
8. Unlock knee joints. Locked knees limit blood flow to the knee joints and eventually will cause knee pain and necrosis. Maintain weight away from the heels and toward the ball of the foot bones with the knee joints unlocked and ready for movement.
9. Walk like you are walking on a straight line or balance beam. It will maintain the knees and feet facing forward, narrow your gait, lengthen stride, increase strength of core and surface muscles of the legs, hips, pelvic girdle, and balance sensors. Supermodels do this and so can you!
10.When walking up stairs, alternate right/left foot placed on the first step. What is your habit when walking up stairs? Which foot do you stand on when the other foot is placed on the first step? There are often an uneven number of stairs. How we climb up stairs may create an imbalance in muscle strength of our thighs and hips.
Here's a bonus tip
To avoid "tech neck" discomfort requires correct posture. The healthy seated position for people at a desk/computer all day is to have shoulders and head aligned straight above the hips. Most of us round our shoulders with the head in a forward position. When we must lean forward, it is best to lean from the hips, without slumping at the back of the waist.
Alice Ann Dailey is the author of "Dailey Strengthening: Six Keys to Balance Core Muscles for Optimal Health," published by Brown Books Publishing Group.