Having spent over nine years pushing a buggy and carrying little ones, my posture is something that I am constantly working on. If I don’t, I relapse into neck, back and shoulder pain within weeks. Pushing that buggy has really taken its toll!
I am a gym-bunny and was a personal trainer in a previous life (BC- before children!) but attending a gym really isn’t essential in sorting out posture. If the gym isn’t your thing, here are some simple exercises and things to do to help, in your every-day-life at home or out and about:
This is a simple way to get the feeling of good posture and help you to be able to focus on squeezing the right muscles while relaxing others.
- Lye on your back on a smooth, hard, flat surface, with arms relaxed by your sides.
- Bend knees so that your feet are flat and your spine is in a neutral position.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together by rotating your thumbs out (away from your body) and keeping your neck long and shoulders pushing down into your torso.
- Your shoulder blades should now be flat and in contact with the floor.
- Slowly, with thumbs leading, slide your arms out, keeping in contact with the floor at all times, going as far as you can until you can’t keep the shoulder blades flush any more. Arms remain soft, the work is in the shoulder area.
- As soon as your shoulder blades begin to lift, slowly return arms to sides. Your upper back muscles should be working hard to keep position throughout. Shoulders should stay down throughout.
- Repeat slowly x5. Like you are making snow angels! Try 3 sets with a minute rest between sets.
- You will be surprised at how much your muscles have to work for this!
Keep pushing your shoulders back and down
- In the cold weather we naturally hunch, pulling our shoulders up to our ears. Once you are aware of it, you can train yourself to stop. Having a scarf helps!
- Put your seat in a more up-right position in the car and do sets of 20 shoulder squeezes whenever you drive anywhere. Squeeze shoulder blades together while pushing shoulders back and down, hold for 2 seconds and release.
- A little tip I was given is to hold your steering wheel in more of a ‘twenty past eight’ position (palms facing inwards) rather than the recommended ‘ten to two’. This promotes a more upright position and better posture while driving. However, the DVLA do not teach this position- try it at your own risk. Please ensure you are safe and experiment with the new position while stationary. It’s great for long journeys on the motor-way.
- When pushing that buggy, resist the lean and adopt a more upright position (easier if you’re a shorty, like me!!)
- Put approximately 1kg of weight into a bag x2- they need to be even. Use packets of flour/ sugar or canned food etc.
- Hold a bag in each hand and stand at the end of your hallway with the weight of the bags pulling your shoulders down and your muscles pulling shoulders back.
- Keeping toes pointing forwards, take a step large enough to drop your back knee close to the floor while your front knee has not passed over your ankle (just above it)- the length of your step will depend on your flexibility.
- Push through your front heel to stand and bring your back leg through to repeat on the other side (travelling forwards).
- Start with sets of 10 and build up from there. Add more weight gradually.
Plank T holds
- These strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint that help hold good posture
- Initially just hold a plank position (like you are about to do a press up), pushing your shoulders into your torso- your tummy will be working too- double whammy!!
- Build up to holding for 3 sets of 30 seconds.
- Rotate into a side plank, taking one hand off the floor, you will need to squeeze the shoulder blades together, keeping shoulders down (not allowing them to raise towards your ears) and arms straight, into a T shape
- Repeat on the other side.
- Try 3 sets of 30 seconds (alternating), then progress to longer sets.
- Further progression can involve an resistance elastic (dyna-band) and a rowing action into the side T hold (I’ll move onto that in a future post).
- Check your position continuously, you’ll be surprised how much your shoulders want to raise during sets.
- It is always a good idea to seek medical advise before embarking on a new fitness regime. Be sensible and start slow and light.
- Just being aware of your posture can do wonders to improve it! Stand straight, shoulders back and down- keep correcting yourself and it will become habit.
Have you seen a difference in your posture since becoming a mum? What steps have you taken to correct it?
PS. I apologise about the pictures! I was so embarrassed doing them! I just felt that the post needed examples of the positions- cringe!!! xx