Good posture can be a game changer for both health and aesthetic reasons.
As Christmas fast approaches, I find myself digging through the wardrobe for that little black dress to take me to all parties and social occasions. Inevitably I realise that last years dress doesn’t really cut it now. The wrong style or too short for a woman in her mid-fifties. Then there are the shoes. Flats or heels? Heel height can make or break good posture and a good outfit.
This year, Strictly Come Dancing has been a godsend for FLexercise teachers. Both Darcey and Shirley have talked constantly about frame, core and posture. They are absolutely correct. Particularly as the female contestants have to wear such massive heels. To be able to function in heels you do need a strong core.
In FLexercise classes we are constantly workinging on posture, core and tone. But at this time of the year, with party season in full flow, the ability to stand up straight and look fab-u-lous in a glorious little black dress and vertiginous heels is a must.
In our previous blog, we discussed foot exercises that will be vital to surviving heeled shoes. https://www.fl-exercise.com/barefoot-exercises-for-healthy-feet/
So what’s good posture?
In our FLexercise training resource portfolio good posture is described as follows:
‘Good Posture is one in which the segments of the body are so placed that there is the least strain on the muscles holding the position and the least wear and tear on the joints during movement. Correct pelvic tilt is of utmost importance. If this is incorrect there is a knock- on effect throughout the body as it repositions itself to counter the resulting angle at which the lumbar spine leaves the pelvic girdle. Muscles become accustomed to the length of their habitual posture, be that good or bad, and will become shortened or lax, depending on their position. ‘
FLexercise Part 2 Training Resource Portfolio. 2017.
So what does that mean in practice?
In the first diagram (good posture) you will see that the pelvis is in neutral, that the weight is evenly distributed, there is tone between the shoulders, the head is well placed and the ribs are lifted.
In bad posture (kyphosis), the pelvis is tilted backwards. This leads to tightening of the chest (pectoral) muscles and a laxness in the upper back and shoulder stabilisers leading to a rounded back. The hips and thighs thrust forward due to tense gluteal muscles.
In bad posture (lordosis), the pelvis is tilted forward leading to shortened spine extensors and a very arched back. the abdomen protrudes and this will lead to lax abdominal muscles over time.
Now all of these diagrams have the person barefoot and in class we encourage participants to kick off their shoes and work barefoot https://www.fl-exercise.com/barefoot-exercise-putting-your-best-foot-forward/
Just consider what happens to posture when you add heels into the equation. Depending on the height of the heel and how used to heels you are, your pelvis will tip to balance you. You will end up with a more arched spine and a sway back in order to balance. The abs will plop forwards, the boobs will thrust and your backside will look bigger.
I’m not trying to put you off wearing high heels. They do look wonderful and I’m only jealous of those who make heels look effortless. But to get good posture when up high is hard work. It’s not as easy as it seems.
What can you do?
Start by getting your posture under control on terra firma. You don’t stand a chance of graduating to heels if good posture is a pipe dream when barefoot.
1.Learn to place your pelvis in neutral – not tipped too far forward or back
2.Lift your ribs out of your waist and elongate your spine
3.Draw your shoulder blades back and down without thrusting your boobs
4.Elongate your neck (no shoulders attached to ears)
5.Make sure the head is placed centrally – no poking chin and don’t look at the floor
6.Place the weight centrally over your feet
7.Slightly soften the knees.Pull your abdominal muscles in and your pelvic floor up
8.And finally, don’t forget to BREATHE !!!
Once you’ve managed it barefoot, try the same thing in heels. Check out this helpful video which backs it all up https://www.howcast.com/videos/500314-how-to-maintain-proper-posture-in-heels-high-heel-walking/
Stay safe in your heels but most of all, have a great party season.