PhysioSW19 May Newsletter

In this May issue, we focus on Posture – the causes and effects of having good or bad posture and the impact on your body … and mind. The Stretch of the Day is an important one for your lower back or QL muscle, to help those who have desk jobs or lower back aches and pain. Also 5 Ways to Keep Flexible and join our new early Tuesday Morning Pilates Class.
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Postural Importance – Start the Day with Confident Posture

Typically, when talking about ‘Posture’ we consider the shape of the body whilst an individual is standing. However, standing is not a static position. A person does not stand completely still, even if trying to do so. Instead, ‘postural sway’, a continual shifting of the body’s Centre of Gravity, pulls on opposing pairs of muscle groups irregularly, causing alternating activity and rest. This helps reduce fatigue and assists in venous and lymphatic return.

For example, guardsmen are instructed actively to induce postural sway by regularly adjusting their body weight from the front to the back of their feet to maintain circulation and prevent fainting.

If posture is efficient such as ‘good posture’, it requires little energy to maintain and causes few long-term stresses on the body. If posture becomes inefficient, ‘poor posture’, active muscle work becomes necessary to redistribute body mass and hold it there. This is an energy-consuming process; energy which is not then available for other purposes. It also subjects the joints of the body to abnormal stresses and dysfunction.

The further the centre of gravity deviates from the ideal, the more energy is consumed by the body. As a result, it is often postural imbalance, which is responsible for low energy states and subsequent ‘ill health’.

In other words, poor posture will adversely affect how the body functions and over time this alteration in function will produce further postural or structural changes.

We all recognise the fact that our emotions influence our posture. Visualise how your posture changes when you feel confident or happy as opposed to depressed, anxious or fatigued. But does the relationship work the other way around? Does our posture influence our emotions?

Poor posture requires more energy expenditure by the musculoskeletal system, leaving less available for body maintenance and repair. The resultant long-term or repeated ‘ill health’ may have an effect on emotional wellbeing producing a spiral of poor health and negative emotional state. There are measurable, physiological effects which may be both the cause and effect of positive and negative emotions confirming that the body is a unity of mind, body and spirit.

Therefore, think positive and your body will follow!

Stretch of the Day – Lower Back or Quadratus Lumborum (QL)

Sitting at desks or in the car all day means that our lower back can feel stiff and uncomfortable. Here is a stretch that can be done in the morning, during the day and after work:

– Stand about 1½ feet from a door frame
– Cross the leg furthest from the doorframe behind the other
– Placing your hands shoulder width, apart both on the door frame, wrap your fingers around the doorframe and grip
– Lean back and twist so you feel a stretch down the side and into the lower back or QL
– Swap sides and repeat

5 Ways to Get Flexible

1) Stretch before exercise. Stretching is so important to prepare your muscles for exercise.
2) Foam roll. Foam rolling is a great way to get rid of tension and encourage rehabilitation.
3) Try a new Class. Yoga and Pilates are great ways to start a healthy new year.
4) Keep moving. Getting up from your desk every half an hour to stretch, mobilise and reset your posture.
5) Go get a massage. Flushing away toxins and encouraging nutrients is the key to healthy muscles.

New Tuesday Morning Pilates Class at SW19

Feel better, look taller! Pilates is a low impact exercise that focuses on isolation of body movement to improve posture, increase flexibility and tone muscle … Click to find out more or to book.

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