As a Physical Therapist I'm often asked “What are the best corrective posture exercises?” I am often surprised by this question. I get the feeling people think there is one magic exercise that will fix everything, kind of like a magic potion.To be honest, I wish there was such an exercise unfortunately there is not. Why? Because everyones posture is different.Our body is constantly changing and adapting to the daily demands placed upon it. Everyone already knows that if you work out a muscle it will get stronger. But what people don’t realize is that if you maintain your body in certain positions for long periods of time your muscles can also adapt by becoming tight or over stretched. Common examples of daily activities that can affect muscles include slouching on the couch, sleeping on your side, holding the phone between your shoulder and ear, etc…So before being able to decide which posture exercises are best for you, you need to know what an ideal posture is and how close to it are you. Basically you need a road map of where you currently are and where you need to be. Sticking with the car analogy, you wouldn’t let a mechanic start working on your car without first figuring out if it is the brakes, engine or shocks. Likewise you shouldn’t start posture exercises before determining what specific body areas need work.So what’s the best way to quickly assess your posture?The best and easiest way is to look in a mirror.
What do I look for?Facing the Mirror* Do you notice a difference from left to right?* Are your feet pointing straight ahead or out to the side?* Are the arches of your feet high, medium, low or non existent?* Are your knees directly over the top of your feet?* Are your hips directly over the top of you knees?* Is your pelvis rotated?* Are your shoulders level?* Is one shoulder more forward than the other?* Is your head tilted to one side?Standing Sideways to the Mirror* Is the middle of your knee directly over the front of your ankle bone?* Is your hip directly over the top of the your knee?* Is your lower back flat, have a slight inward curve or a large inward curve?* Is your upper back flat, have a slight outward curve or a large outward curve?* Is your shoulder directly over the top of your hip?* Is the back of your ear directly over the middle of your shoulder?At this stage I’m just asking you to observe.Next read the posts on good posture and the 4 common bad postures.Which one are you most like?By identifying your posture type we can better recommend the most appropriate posture exercises.
Posted by Dave Delaney