Crossroads Fitness Blog
Take a healthy stance: Good posture offers benefits
My mother’s words from childhood still resonate in my head. “Stand up tall. Don’t slouch.” She was right, of course. There are physical and emotional benefits to maintaining good posture. Moreover, our posture says more about us than we might think.
Simply put, posture refers to the body’s alignment. As with any habit, it takes work to make it consistent. We all know what constitutes poor posture — hunching, slumping and slouching. These habits break more than our mother’s rules, though. They create poor alignment that over time strains ligaments and muscles and causes pain and injuries. Proper alignment in every aspect of our day is important — from walking, sitting and standing to exercise and sports.
Maintaining awareness of your posture is the best place to begin. Think about your body language when you’re tired or ill. I tend to resort to poor posture when I’m hurrying around with too many things to do. After practice, I now catch myself and take a deep breath and align my body correctly. I feel more refreshed and in control.
There are other areas to consider when evaluating your posture. My chiropractor once told me my purse was way too heavy. Because I Quick read more or view full article carry my purse on my right shoulder and continually add items throughout the day, the load was pulling my torso to the right. Technology can compromise alignment, too. Holding your cell phone squeezed between your shoulder and your head for long periods tweaks your natural position. Consider as well your posture when you’re sitting at a computer, the dinner table or in the car.
There are many benefits of maintaining good posture. Your breathing becomes easier and deeper. It aligns muscles and joints. It improves circulation and digestion. There’s another benefit nearly everyone desires: Good posture conveys a more confident bearing. What’s more, it makes you look slimmer and younger.
What does healthy posture look like? Here’s one way to tell if you’re standing up correctly. Stand up against a wall with your feet just a couple inches away and your upper back, shoulders and bottom touching the wall. Now, step away from the wall and see if you can maintain that position.
There are ways to help you maintain this position with ease. Perform slow and controlled movements that target your core and side muscles. Yoga and Pilates classes are excellent for improving posture. Do exercises that strengthen your upper and lower back as well as your shoulders. Roll your shoulders up and back, then hold.
Don’t forget the importance of stretching. Try standing tall with your arms reaching towards the sky and feel your torso lengthen.
The benefits of good posture are both physical and emotional. What does your posture say about you? Increasing awareness of your posture and learning ways to strengthen your body leads to a taller, prouder and healthier you.Read Less
Got abs? Combination of exercises required to tone things up
As we approach summer, we also approach swimsuit season. Page through a few magazines and you might think to yourself those glamorous models must do a lot of crunches.
What you might not know is that from a fitness standpoint, there’s more to toned abdominal muscles than you might think. The abdominal muscles are actually four bunches of muscles that reach from the bottom of your ribcage to the top of your pelvic bone. These four abdominal muscles are called the external and internal obliques, transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis. There’s no single exercise that will train all ab muscles at the same time. This means you need to know where these muscles are located and what exercises you can perform to target these areas.
Your external obliques are the outermost muscles of your trunk on the sides that wrap around to your back and attach to your ribs. The internal obliques lie under them. Both the internal and external obliques are responsible for the twisting movement of your body. Some exercise ideas for the obliques include the bicycle or side plank.
The transverse abdominis lies in the deepest muscular layer in the abdominal wall. This muscle runs horizontally. A good way to think about this muscle is that it is like a girdle. It’s holding everything in. Try to engage your ab muscles by holding them in while performing everyday activities.
The rectus abdominis is the band of muscle fibers that are vertical and creased Quick read more or view full article with tendons. It is this muscle group that gives the appearance of the six-pack or washboard abs. Some exercises for this group include the reverse curl and regular crunches.
Performing these strengthening exercises will only tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles. They will not get rid of the fat layer that lies on top. The best way to get fabulous abs is to do a combination of strengthening exercises and cardiovascular activity that burns fat.
So whether you want six-pack abs or to just lose some of that spare tire, performing a variety of exercises, maintaining proper form and eating right will get you ready for swimsuit season.Read Less