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Fighting Fit.

Byline: By David Ashdown

Perfect posture

Posture is one of those buzz words associated with personal fitness, the kind of thing mentioned alongside core stability, but the truth often come out with these terms without knowing what they actually mean. Put simply, good posture is the balanced alignment of our muscles and bones and poor posture is when things don't line up.

Think of your skeleton as a big coat hanger and muscles as the clothes that are on the hanger; if the clothes aren't distributed evenly then pressure will build up at certain points on the hangers. This is essentially what happens when one muscle becomes stronger or shorter than its opposite number. As this pressure builds, movement in the joint becomes restricted as one side is overpowering the other, causing pain and discomfort. This is particularly common in the lower back and knees. This tends to result in us adjusting our posture to relieve the pain and pressure; cue even worse posture.

In the human body the muscles are designed to be like a balanced pair of scales, pushing and pulling equally when needed, however lifestyles, jobs and exercise habits encourage us to favour certain muscles over others. For example, many of us sit at desks and drive cars for much of our daily life, and then to unwind we go for a jog or do some cycling. All of these activities target the fronts of our thighs; sitting and driving shorten these muscles for long periods (encouraging them to remain in this state) whilst running and cycling give the largest workout to the same muscles (again increasing tension).

Over time this can pull the pelvis forward, increasing the arch of the lower back and amplifying pressure in the discs. This forward tilt can encourage our abdominals to protrude rather than pull in so for all your hard work you get a bad back and a tummy that lets it all hang out.

Next week, I'll run through a little postural self assessment drill and explain a few more of the reasons so many of us suffer poor posture, until then try to think of which muscles you work when you exercise and which you ignore.

Millions of people all over the world are unhappy with their physiques and the results they are getting from exercise, now imagine a clothes store where everything is thrown in heaps rather than presented neatly on hangers, just as this does not do the clothes justice, poor posture does the same to our bodies.

For more advice on how to get motivated and stay motivated please contact David Ashdown or any of the team at Greens Health and Fitness, Gosforth on (0191) 213 0070.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 31, 2005
Words:452
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