As I sit at my desk writing this article, I’m conscious of my posture. As soon as I write the word “posture” my spine straightens a little, my shoulders draw back and I lift my chin ever so slightly to release the tension that’s built up without me noticing. I bet you did the same as you read this!
Improving posture is a goal that many share. We strive to get that “perfect posture” that’s been drilled into us since we were children but I want to reframe the way you think about
posture and make it feel easier and more achievable. In preparation for this piece, I had a quick google to see what popped up about posture. It was surprising to see that the most searched terms were “posture corrector” and “posture brace” - a sign that we are all after that quick fix for our postures! But it’s going to take a little more than that.
So, let’s break it down.
Let’s start with the basics and discuss what posture actually means. Posture is the way that we hold our bodies in space, usually when we are upright in sitting or standing. When we are tired and our bodies fatigued, we may slump and round forward as the muscles don’t hold our bodies in the same way over time. In one quick conscious movement, we can hold ourselves better and improve our posture, sitting straighter and lengthening our spines. But, how can we hold ourselves in this position for longer periods of time?
I may be biased but I think Pilates is the answer.
The Go Chlo Pilates Posture Definition
To me, achieving good posture is a process not a destination. (We’re getting deep now, I know). Improving our posture is something that we need to work at consistently over time and it’s impacted by many different factors in our lives. Think about the desk workers spending 10 hours at their WFH desk hunched over a laptop, or the new mum feeding, settling, changing and rocking a baby or even the musician writing songs and playing the drums - for all these people, maintaining posture is HARD! So, it’s about doing what you can and implementing strategies to improve your posture and you move through life.
To improve your posture, break down your exercise into two parts: strength and stretch.
Number 1: Stretch
With prolonged time sitting or carrying or well, living, our muscles get tight.
When the muscles tighten, the body feels stiff and it becomes more challenging to move the body freely and efficiently. In order to alleviate that stiff, tight feeling, we need to incorporate stretching into
our movement practice. Common muscle groups that need this are the hamstrings (back of the thighs), pecs (front of the chest and shoulders), glutes (outside of the hips), as well as the muscles through the upper back, neck and lower back. With consistent stretching, your body will feel open, lengthened and free.
Number 2: Strength
In order to hold our bodies with better posture throughout the day, we need strong postural muscles. Cue Pilates strength exercises! With proper strengthening of the postural muscles, your body will naturally be able to hold itself with improved posture throughout the day, especially after a long day when the body is fatigued. Most importantly, the scapular (shoulder blade) muscles, neck muscles and hips will make a big impact on the way your posture feels. With time, you’ll notice your body has the endurance to maintain better posture.
Posture Improvement Exercises
After receiving so many requests for posture improvement exercises, I developed The Posture Series which is a four week program to improve and maintain your posture. The program has a combination of both Stretch and Strength classes so you can do everything you can to improve your posture.
Pilates Posture Workouts
Here are some of the best classes on Go Chlo Pilates for your posture:
10 Minute Posture Strength
30 Minute Posture Strength
30 Minute Stretch
5 Minute Desk Break Stretch
10 Minute Hip Stretch
14 Minute Postural Strength
Thanks for reading! Remember you can access a two week free trial on Go Chlo PIlates to give your postural muscles what they need.