Grandma always told you to stand up straight, and she was right.
Standing, sitting and moving in good alignment is so powerful. Your bones, joints, and muscles are able to work optimally when positioned properly. Think of your bicep as an easy example. When your hand is down by your hip you are able to perform a bicep curl easily, but if your elbow is bent and your hand is way out to the side then it requires more strength and coordination to contract your bicep muscle.
So how does this relate to your posture?
If you are keeping your ribs stacked over your hips, then your #core4 muscles are in proper alignment. From this position, no one muscle group is having to work extra to stabilize your body. Everything is working in synergy and this is most efficient. From this posture, you are able to take full expansive breaths, your pelvic floor is able to relax and contract with full strength.
If your leaning back into what I call “mom posture” then your hips are pushed out front, your ribcage is back over your heels and your core muscles (abs & back) are working overtime to keep you stable. All while likely holding onto a babe or wiggly toddler. When your muscles are actively contracting to hold a posture, they are not able to work efficiently. Your diaphragm and pelvic floor are not able to fully contract and relax, which puts strain on your pelvic floor, which leads to dysfunction (think leaking or prolapse).
Thinking about keeping your ribcage stacked over your hips makes it easier to find better alignment. This position may seem foreign and like actual work if you have been out of alignment for years. But over time, with some effort, this will become easier.
As Mamas we spend a fair amount of our day standing, waking and generally just not sitting around. So, it is super important we take a look at our posture.
Look down at your ribs and try to place them directly over your hip bones. I like to use my hands as a guide (Thumbs on my lower ribs and fingertips on the front of my hip bones).
Soften your bum muscles. We spend a lot of time with our glutes clenched and ‘turned off’. Think of blossoming your bum to get that nice round tush, without sticking it out like a Kardashian. (Check your hips, did they slide backwards and out of alignment with your ribs?)
Bring your shoulders UP, BACK & DOWN to reset them. We tend to roll them forward with the amount of time we spend nursing, carrying children, on our phone or computers, or hugging that hot cup of life (coffee).
Keep your knees relaxed, not locked out or bent into a mini squat, just relaxed. With the weight evenly distributed through your whole feet.
Now look straight ahead at eye level and think of a string pulling right from the top of your head up to the sky. I find this one rather difficult for most people these days. Our necks are constantly flexed forward, looking down at the kids, cooking, cleaning, on our phones/computers, or just staring into our hot cup of life.
Practice Makes Progression
Thinking about these cues will help even out your posture for the most part. If you are struggling with this position, I recommend you seek out the help of a Chiropractor, Personal Trainer, Massage Therapist, Physiotherapist or Osteopath. Having someone else take a look at your posture can help determine if there are any strength or weakness present that can help maintain your neutral posture a little easier.
It will take a little bit of time and constantly reminding yourself about this neutral posture to get the hang of it. But it is so worth the effort.
When you are 80 and not bent over, frozen in a hunched position you will thank me.
Now you can take this posture and apply it to your workouts, how you stand at the stove, how you pick up or carry your kids and even how you sit up nice and tall in your chair.