Posture in my opinion …….

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Physiotherapists around the world have historically been nagging people to watch their posture for eons, probably with very little awareness of their own! I won’t lie I was trained to do the same and have done the same until I realised it really was a lost cause most of the time.

Not to say that those who I would ask to be more aware of their posture didn’t listen but rather it was really an unrealistic task for most. Sure most of us could be cued to move into the correct posture; shoulders diagonally down, long through the back of the neck, don’t lock your knees blah blah blah. But no one could sustain this for more than a few seconds.

Why?

There are many things that are required in order to have what is considered aesthetically “good posture”

  1. Mobility – your joints need to be able to move with ease other wise your muscles are likely to work against a significant amount of resistance from joint stiffness.
  2. Strength – if you really want to work on your posture …… move and move with some resistance, regularly!
  3. Endurance – really your muscles don’t just need to be strong but they also need to have the endurance to maintain a position for an extended period of time.

These are all things that are achievable but take time, commitment and consistency so by simply just asking you to watch your posture for the sake of better posture is a delusion.

Now don’t get me wrong I often have times in my day where I am standing in line at the supermarket where I practice my ‘good posture’ position, however I use this as a posture reversal exercise. When I do this I am unloading structures and giving some respite to others for a few minutes in my day.

I think there are 2 important things to note:

  • There really is no such thing as a “bad posture”. There are many tasks in life that require you to adopt different body positions. Your body was made to move in a variety of ways and it is not necessarily the position that is the problem, the issue really is around sustaining any posture for an excessive amount of time, our bodies don’t like any static posture (no matter what it looks like) and this is where you can run into some problems.

“Your Best posture is your next one” Adam Meakins (The sports physio)

  • The posture is only an issue if it causing you symptoms. There is a significant amount of variance with human morphology so not everyone will fit into the “neutral posture” position. If it is not causing you any issues, it’s probably normal for you!

If you are looking for someone to assist in reversing your posture and increasing general mobility, strength and endurance, I offer one on one and duo Pilates and movement therapy classes, click the link to book. Book a Pilates and movement session

Core stability in my opinion ….

For more than a decade I have been teaching Pilates and movement based therapy as an adjunct to physiotherapy around Brisbane. For a considerable amount of time I (like many other physiotherapists out there) have had a belief system that engaging deep abdominal muscles were the key to improve spinal function and to think about these exercises before moving was important.

However over recent years there have been a number of clinicians including renowned physiotherapist Professor Peter O’Sullivan who have discovered that in fact there is little evidence that pre stiffening your trunk improves your “back strength”. He publicly discusses literature around how bracing and pre bracing before moving can in fact increase compression causing symptoms.

Peter O’Sullivan also has open the conversation around the idea of “core stability” one you have probably heard many times and discusses the fact our spine and trunk has a 3 dimensional movement system with the ability to move in many directions with the aide of many muscles and that in fact there is no such thing as “core stability”.

Peter is offering a new conversation, one around the idea that we need to trust our bodies and that even though there may have been some physiological damage in the recent or distant past that our bodies are a self healing mechanism and that our spines are robust. To be able to trust our bodies allows us to develop normal patterns of movement.

I have travelled the world and seen individuals working the land and using their bodies to the extreme that most of us in the western world would cringe at. In my recent trip to Bali I saw a rice farmer in the paddy’s in the hot sun leaning over planting rice for hours, I saw women carrying bags of sand on their heads up a massive stair case carrying what I would say was at least 10-20 kg bags. I don’t think they were thinking about stiffening their trunk ……. Because in actual fact this happens naturally!

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These days when I teach Pilates and movement based classes I endeavour to empower you to trust your body and allow you to feel movement that happens in all different directions. I use breathing and breathing exercises as well as some mindfulness practices to help with body awareness and coordination and perhaps bring some awareness in deep-seated movement patterns that may not be serving you.

Pilates and movement therapies are one on one or duo classes. Health rebates are available.

“What we understand from the literature, is that often the fear of pain causes people to make protective movements and as a result people’s movement patterns become really abnormal and act as a mechanism for self harm” Professor Peter O’Sullivan, PhD