We’ve all been there: You’re walking past a storefront window and see your reflection. Immediately you shoot your shoulders down and back when the reflection reveals to you how poor your posture is, and you wonder if your posture is always that bad.
Having good posture is hard, especially if you’re someone who’s resulted in hunching for most of your life, or if you’re someone who spends a lot of time typing away on their computer.
However, posture is absolutely crucial to your health, inside and outside of your Los Angeles Pilates class.
Why Pilates Emphasizes Posture
Here at Pilates Platinum, we put a huge focus on posture. You’ll hear our instructors constantly reminding you to keep good form and posture.
If you’re wondering why here’s some insight.
Posture is important for your health because . . .
It improves your digestion
Bad posture causes your internal organs to compress, which can really put a kink in your digestion. By making sure that you sleep, stand, and sit properly, you are ensuring you stay clear of all types of digestive problems, from acid reflux to hernias.
It keeps your spine healthy
If you spend too much time with bad posture (hello hunching over your computer for 8+ hours a day), then your spine will actually change, and not in a good way. Your bad posture could lead to compressed nerves as well as constricted blood vessels.
It allows you to breathe deeply and properly
The more that you slouch, the more you are restricting your body to normally breathe, and take in deep breaths when needed. The better your posture, the clearer your airways are to get those fulfilling breaths.
It keeps your muscles and joints healthy
Good posture keeps pressure off of your joints and ensures that you’re using your muscles the right way. By keeping your posture upright and correct, you’re preventing putting strain on your muscles and overusing them.
Posture is important in Pilates because . . .
As you can see from the above, posture is important to your everyday life, and a wide variety of your body’s functions.
And the importance of good posture spills over into your Pilates Platinum class. In fact, the importance of correct posture in Pilates is absolutely crucial.
It reflects on your entire body
Pilates is unlike many other forms of exercise. Rather than focusing on one part of the body at a time, Pilates is always looking at the entire body and its posture.
The emphasis may be on your left leg during a lunge, for example, but you are always making sure your leg is aligned properly with your knee, and at the same time, that your hips and shoulders are where they should be.
It builds your core muscles
Pilates trains you to develop strength in your core, rather than relying solely on superficial muscles, hence the shaking you experience when your superficial muscle starts to burn out.
Once you’ve built up those core muscles, your body will use them to support your spine and improve your posture.
It teaches you balance
By doing the exercises in your Pilates class slowly, and with great care and focus on your form, you are gaining some serious strength and balance. Upon achieving that balance, you will be able to keep a neutral spine where you’re not putting pressure on your body.
So, how do you work on achieving that good posture?
How to Improve Your Posture
Here are some things you can do to turn that bad posture around.
- Push your shoulder blades together. You probably hear this a lot in your Pilates class, but be sure you’re practicing this outside of class as well.
- Pull your belly button into your spine. This too is something you’ll hear your Pilates instructor say, but again, is something you should be doing all the time. Not only will this help protect your spine, it will also help flatten your stomach.
- Stand tall. Look like you’re the master of confidence when you’re standing. You will feel much better by doing this, and your back will thank you.
- Pick your chin up. We spend so much time looking down at our phones or our computers, and that puts massive stress on our cervical spines. Take that stress off by lifting your chin up.
Now that you’ve got all this posture knowledge under your belt, the next time you walk by a storefront window and see your reflection, you won’t find yourself cringing. Instead, you’ll find yourself standing nice and tall, proudly (and properly) carrying around your Pilates-sculpted body.