Best thing is you can do them in front of the telly.
It’s become particularly chronic since we all started staring down at our phones (cue: neck and back problems).
Sure, standing up straight is something you’ve probably always put off until later, like watching less Netflix and switching to sweet potato fries, but biomechanics pioneer and former Pilates instructor Dell-Maree Day says strengthening your body through posture training will help improve your entire system.
“The poorer your posture, the more your body will struggle to work efficiently as bunching and hunching will restrict how well your body oxygenates and functions as a whole. This can lead to aches and pains, and can leave you more susceptible to injury when moving,” she says.
Day is the creator of The Invisible Exercise online program, which specifically teaches you how to activate all of your body’s 639 muscles, through triggering “muscle memory”.
“When we position our bones correctly, our muscles are lifted onto the bones the way that they are supposed to. This triggers muscle memory ensuring that every muscle is the perfect length and reminds the muscle of its individual purpose. The muscles will resume working for you exactly as they are designed to do. This improves your posture and body shape,” Day explains.
Unlike burpees in your usual training, where you throw yourself around, the most effective posture training requires you to remain as still as possible, says Day. Think controlled movements.
“While it may look like you’re not doing much, and that any exercise is ‘invisible’, in fact your body is burning serious calories as it stretches and retrains itself.”
While her program has 10 postures over 10 weeks, Day has shared five of them exclusively with myBody+Soul, so you can start practicing and scoring all the benefits.
1 The sitting posture
Try this: Move your spine away from the back of your chair and sit on the front half of the chair. Place your feet flat on the floor directly under your knees with a fist-size space between your feet and knees.
Look straight ahead and sit as tall and relaxed as possible. Don’t forget to relax your arms. As you do this you will notice your spine has completely stacked itself up so the natural curves of your spine are reinstated. This is a simple thing you can do frequently at your desk.
What it does: As your spine stacks itself up, transforming your posture, there will be a reduction in the compression and distortion of your joints. This is the key to eliminating aches and pains at your desk.
2 The standing posture
Try this: When standing still, look straight ahead with your feet 10cm apart. Stand as tall and relaxed as possible. Since the advent of smart phones, the standing posture for many has really gone downhill as people are now looking down constantly at their phones. This pulls the neck forward resulting in a hunchback. Always look ahead if you can.
What it does: You will instantly look and feel slimmer as your lower and upper back will lift and your shoulders will relax. This will reduce strain throughout your spine, especially your upper torso and neck.
3 The walking posture
Try this: Walk tall, looking straight ahead in a relaxed manner. Take the longest stride you can without lapsing into a “silly walk”! Whilst re-aligning your body with “still postures” is more effective, it’s still a smart idea to practice a good walking technique stretching your hamstrings.
What it does: You will burn more calories because the longer your stride, and the more tall and relaxed you are, the more muscles you will use. You will find walking easier and your posture will be better.
4 The resting face posture
Try this: The first thing to remember is to always try to look straight ahead. If you’re working at your computer, especially if it’s a laptop, try to elevate it so your eyes rest on the top third of the screen. Make sure your jaw is not too close to your throat or not too far away. When in resting mode, your facial and neck muscles should always be relaxed and not clenched. If your mouth tends to pull downwards, also smile as much as you can to lift the area around the lower face!
What it does: Looking straight ahead prevents your jowls from falling forward and strengthens your neck muscles.
5 The stretching posture
Try this: When you wake up, or whenever you need a burst of energy, have a good stretch. Stand and raise your arms straight up to the ceiling with your fingers pointed. Your arms should be the natural width of your shoulders apart. Stretch up as tall as you can keeping your feet flat on the ground. Remain in the stretch position for a few seconds.
What it does: This can help open up your chest and get your breathing muscles activated, alleviating any tightness in the area.
To learn more about the 10 master postures outlined in Dell-Maree’s The Invisible Exercise program, log onto www.theinvisibleexercise.com.au
body+soul’s Rosie King shows you five simple ways you can improve your posture and fix your back problems.