The hidden health & fitness issue holding many people back.
We estimate that around 90% of injuries Elite Akademy treats relate to one key issue that many of us either forget, become used to, or overlook – incorrect posture.
For many, posture is a hidden health and fitness issue because people are often unaware they have posture problems in the first place.
The fit and healthy are not immune. In fact, good posture might be the difference between good and elite performance – your posture has to perform when the body is under load, through training, competing and opposition pressure.
What does good posture look like? Imagine a piece of string pulling you up from your head. We naturally elongate. You are NOT standing to attention. You are simply standing tall with your shoulders relaxed back not pulled back.
People tend to stand in two ways: first is with the bum ‘sticking’ out’ – many dancers do this because their pelvis is tilted forwards through habit; the second standing with the bum ‘tucked’ in. In this scenario the pelvis is tilted backwards.
Imagine your pelvis to be a fruit bowl that needs a to be kept level. Do not let your fruit-bowl tip forwards (anatomical term – anterior pelvic tilt) or tip back backwards (anatomically – posterior pelvic tilt). When its level it is neutral.
But there is more to posture than standing, and we are seeing more problems with sitting posture as many of us live more sedentary lifestyles.
Let’s have a look at the five key things anyone can do to improve their standing and sitting posture:
It takes approximately 3000 reps of straightening your spine (standing/sitting tall) for this to become automated by the brain. This is what we classify as motor learning. When motor learning occurs then a task becomes automated. For example, golfers try to automate their movements through practice; being a technical sport it takes about 10,000 reps (swings) to automate a golf swing. Standing tall and straightening your spine is not technical. Thus it only requires 3000 reps.
Using 3000 reps as a rule, it means if people do 200 reps per day they will achieve good posture in as little as 15 days.
So how do we achieve 200 reps per day?
2. Cues to remind you to “grow tall”:
It’s easy to forget posture, so establish some cues: for example, every time you check your phone, grow tall before you open the app. Studies have found people check their phone 60-80 times per day. So that means that in a little as 38-50 days people could change their posture. Every time people check their email. Before they open up their email they “grow tall” in their seat. This accounts for another 30-50 times per day.
3. Team up:
Like with exercise, great results can be achieved by having allies on board. You may have a partner, family member, child, friend or colleague who also wants to work on their posture. Together, you can support and remind each other to stand or sit tall: every time you remind someone you remember too.
4. Use your regular walks:
If there is a walk people do regularly (walking to the bus stop, train station, car park, coffee shop) then calculate the number of minutes taken to get there. People take approximately 100 steps every minute they walk. If you are conscious of “being tall” during a five minute walk, this would account for 500 reps meaning you can achieve good walking posture in as little as six days. On your walk you may use your reflection in shopfronts and mirrors as more cues.
5. Wearable devices as another cue:
Wearable tech such as fitness trackers can become a reminder system. If it turns on/off randomly with movement then it becomes a cue. Using this method alone can help you achieve good posture in about 100 days.